Strong, gusty winds are a hallmark of spring in many places. Last weekend, blustery winds toppled trees all over the Adelaide Hills and I lost my broad bean crop when the slender canes snapped in the gale.
Wind can have a detrimental effect on humans as well as vegetation. In Chinese medicine there are conditions known as wind invasion and wind stroke where wind penetrates the body. All of us are familiar with heat and cold invading the body, producing heatstroke and chills, but it is less well known that wind, the climate of the Wood Element, can also enter the body and produce symptoms of imbalance.
Some people love the wind and are impervious to its influence while others are sensitive and dislike going out in windy weather. Some are so sensitive that even looking out of the window at the wild, windy weather can bring up feelings of unease.
One of the classic places for wind to invade the body is through the neck, particularly in the upper part where the skull joins the cervical spine. There is an acupoint at the base of the skull in the large depression known as the occipital hollow. Fengfu or Wind Palace, is a point on the Governing Vessel (Du Mai) and is particularly susceptible to wind invasion.
Symptoms of pathogenic wind invasion include pain and stiffness in the neck, headaches, mental disturbance or fogginess, dizziness, blurred vision, shivering, sweating, aversion to cold and a general feeling of heaviness in the body. This condition can arise from prolonged exposure to blustery winds. It can also be caused by sitting or lying in a draft or in air conditioning.
Fortunately, the wind can be encouraged to exit at the same place it entered. Sustained pressure at Wind Palace allows the wind to clear from the body. You can use finger pressure, but another useful technique is to lie on your back with a tennis ball pressing into the occipital hollow. The weight of your head creates the pressure and you can relax without having to do anything.
If you are prone to neck problems I recommend wearing a scarf when going out into the wind. Make sure it covers the very top of your neck where the wind likes to sneak in. If you have a very strong dislike of the wind, it may be that there is some internal wind that needs to be cleared. Work on Wind Palace for a few minutes each day over the next week and see if you become less disturbed by the wind.
Location of Governing Vessel 16
The point is located on the midline at the nape of the neck in the large hollow immediately below the external occipital protuberance. Use your middle finger to trace up the middle of the back of your neck until you encounter the large bump at the back of the head. The point is in the depression immediately below. You can hold it with finger pressure, lie on a tennis ball, or ask someone to hold the point for you while you lie back and relax. You can hold the point for 3 minutes or longer if you wish. If you are using the tennis ball, don’t fall asleep on it as you may get too much treatment.