Have you noticed yourself or others being more irritable or cross in the springtime? Do you ever wonder if we feel more agitated because of the spring winds? This has been a topic of consideration across many cultures for millenniums – even Hippocrates had his theories about the wind’s negative influence.
Today, there’s scientific research looking at the effect of wind on our mental health, and there’s proof that the wind makes us humans more prone to anxiety, distress and fatigue. We are more prone to accidents, heart attack, migraine and insomnia. Some studies show an increase in suicidality and another demonstrated fights on a school playground doubling during high winds. Even the direction of the wind’s effect on mental outlook has been considered.
In parts of the Mediterranean, a warm humid wind called the sirocco has such an impact on behavior that people convicted of murder were once given shorter sentences if the crime was committed while the wind was blowing.
While in Western culture the idea that wind might influence mental health may strike some as odd, this idea is not as strange as it may sound. In the East, this concept is a basic premise in Ayurveda and also in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine. In Ayurveda, one of the principal terms for madness is “vatula,” literally meaning “inflated with wind.” In traditional Chinese medicine – TMC – wind is one of the six “pernicious influences” and is considered to be a major cause of illness. TCM believes one of the jobs of the liver is to keep energy (Qi) flowing smoothly. When the wind invades our energy channels, this causes a chaotic flow of Qi, which bothers the liver and causes us to feel irritable.
Physiologically, we have the same response to the wind that we do in a classic alarm reaction – our pupils dilate, hairs stand on end, heart rate increases. This is an amazing response for emergencies, but when the stimulus continues for hours or days, this puts a huge strain on our nervous systems.
In certain weather conditions, more positive ions are created changing the electromagnetic field all around us. These electric charges can cause irritability, lack of focus, hypoglycemia, hypotension, slower reaction times and fatigue. Those positive ions literally overcharge us with energy – and it looks like about a third of the overall population is affected.
So, how do we stay grounded during the blustery spring? Having a salt lamp in your home and office can help to counteract those positive ions by emitting negative ions into your environment. This will help counter what’s happening outside and help restore balance to your electromagnetic field.
You can also make sure your neck and lower back are covered and kept warm. This prevents the “invasion” of wind into your system and keeps you more protected from the ill effects of wind. Balancing your energy by soaking in warm water (opposite of cold, dry air) is another practice that can be very beneficial. Eating foods that are warming and moistening, such as soups, oatmeal and warm tea, can also bring balance. Feeling your feet on the ground (even going barefoot if you won’t get chilled) can help to root us into earth energy and keep us from being so affected by air energy.
If you’re someone who is affected by the wind, know that it’s not simply in your head. And now that you’ll honor yourself and this sensitivity, you can approach the spring breezes in a way that feels more supportive for your whole person.
Nicola Dehlinger is a naturopathic doctor at Pura Vida Natural Healthcare in Durango. She can be reached at 426-1684 or www.puravidahealthcare.com.