Wind-Heat

Wind-Heat happens when a strong invading force meets a powerful defender in your body. You get fever and with luck your body wins.
Illness
Photo by Arwin Neil Baichoo on Unsplash

Wind-Heat and Wind-Cold are names for syndromes your body often produces when you get ill with an acute disease.

These responses are your inherited genetic know-how at work, evolved through the millennia. They are your body’s best response.

Suppressing these symptoms, which OTC (over-the-counter) medicines can often do, stops these evolutionary winning hands from working successfully.

Typical symptoms

If the body’s reaction is stronger than it was with Wind-Cold, it becomes Wind-Heat. Here are its typical symptoms:

  • Fever will be higher but whether or not there is an actual fever, the patient feels hotter to the touch and may complain of feeling hot
  • Inflammation
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Tonsils swollen
  • Strong aversion to cold or 
  • Sudden heat then coldness
  • Mild thirst
  • Shivering
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Yellow nasal catarrh
  • Tongue: at the front or sides, red: thin white coating
  • Pulse: floats, rapid

 

The body is able to moderate the fever by sweating which is absent in wind-cold conditions.

The level and intensity of the fever is important because not only does fever speed up the body’s immune reaction, but it helps eliminate bacteria and viruses faster.

Fever also stimulates the body to remove toxins.

If the immune system is unable to expel it, either because

  • it lacks the strength or 
  • its reaction is suppressed, (perhaps by  medication) 
 

… then the symptoms will cease to be acute and will become chronic, with tiredness – even exhaustion, low levels of phlegm, catarrh or sinus involvement, poor appetite, impaired digestion and increased susceptibility to further invasion.

Wind-Heat shows that your body is responding vigorously to the invader. Usually this is good and to your advantage. The invader is vanquished by the force of your body’s reaction, and your body learns quickly how to deal all the better with future invasions.

The downside is that although short, the symptoms are unpleasant! But at least those symptoms are more effective than those of Wind-Cold.

 

Why is it called WIND-HEAT?

Chinese medicine often uses analogies to describe conditions. If you think of the Wind, you probably think of movement. Depending on its strength you may hear leaves fluttering in the breeze, or you may see cars overturned. Wind, in Chinese medicine, is the same. Shivering and trembling are signs of Wind, and so is rushing around and noise and sudden change.

The Wind affects the upper parts of our body more than other parts, just as winds on mountain-tops are much stronger. So with Wind-heat, the wind makes us alternately hot and cold, sneezing, restless and disruptive.

The Heat of Wind-Heat supplies the tendency to feel hot. This makes you thirsty, dry, possibly feverish, desiring cool conditions and drinks.

Because Wind and Heat combine, neither gets it all its own way, and conditions can be changeable. Often one or the other predominates, and this can point to the right treatment.

You can get Wind-Heat from Cold!

The symptoms of Wind-Heat might make you think that to get it you must have been exposed to windy, hot conditions.

Not so! The words Wind and Heat describe not the cause but your body’s reaction to the cause. You and a friend might catch the same cold virus at the same time on the same day. You might produce Wind-Heat and he might produce Wind-Cold.

What can YOU do to hasten success?

If you decide that you don’t want to take medication or to suppress your body’s natural Wind-Heat reaction to the invader, then ideally this is what you might do:

  • Prepare to assist your body to get hot
  • – make sure you have a warm bed to go to
  • – possibly even with a warm partner or a hot water bottle
  • – towels to absorb your perspiration
  • – water supplies to quench your thirst
  • – possibly ice-cream or yogurt or honey if you have a very sore dry throat
  • Make sure you have fresh air circulating in your room. It need not be a huge draft, but air should flow through it.

 

Honey
Photo by Arwin Neil Baichoo on Unsplash

With Wind-Heat Should You Go to Work? NO!

  • Face the fact that you probably won’t be very hungry and in any case, you should not eat much. Eating diverts energy from the battle and food might not pass through you smoothly anyway at this time. However, you may need some food, and complex carbohydrates are good. Brown rice, anyone: well-cooked, and soft? But clogstoun congee might be better!
  • If your throat is very sore, honey has a long history of success – but you don’t need much. Dissolve it in water.
  • Don’t bother with vitamins and minerals. This is an acute situation, and your body probably can’t absorb any more food, let alone concentrated supplements. (Yes, yes: I know all about Vitamin C, Zinc and so on!) If your body is able to produce strong Wind-Heat symptoms it certainly doesn’t need supplements: it already has what it needs, except for water.
  • Ideally your fever produces a temperature above normal, if possible several degrees above. However, strictly speaking this is not necessary: the main thing is that you feel hot.
  • During this acute phase, you should probably curtail work. For one thing you may be infectious. For another you will definitely not be able to work at full efficiency. Better to stay at home and return to work a new (wo-)man after a few days.
  • During the acute phase, short walks outside in cooler air are fine, if you are dressed up well, and not shivering. But make sure that you don’t suddenly get cold while out: you want to come back warmer and perspiring (- if you have the energy for it, of course) and then clamber into a warm bed.

What does your acupuncturist do?

Your acupuncturist aims to help your body throw the invader out.

In a perfect world, this means getting you to sweat properly, such sweat being an indication that you’ve beaten the bug and need to cool down, and that presupposes that your body achieves a healthy fever.

However, there’s a huge theory to do with the invasion of disease into your body, and what your acupuncturist does depends on which bit of theory you display symptoms of.

In general, (s)he wants to get your Lungs working properly again.

She may use cupping on your back or chest, and acupuncture points chosen carefully on channels that seem most affected. With herbs she may choose a recipe that ‘releases the exterior’. Depending on her training and preference she may use Tuina or Guasha, the former being a form of Chinese massage and the latter a kind of scraping.

I have found cupping and acupuncture often very effective.

Jonathan Brand colours

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