We know that the body is constantly working to maintain what we call homeostasis.
This internal “balance” is happening at all times through millions of reactions occurring within the body’s cells, organs and information channels.
Sometimes, especially during the Winter season, this balance can get thrown off.
The ancients have known about the ‘body’s internal balancing systems’ for thousands of years, tho the terminology they use is quite different.
Some practices would have you believe that pathogens only exist in the form of microorganisms that enter our body through open orifices (nose, mouth, eyes, wounds etc.)
However, the ancients - who lived a much closer relationship with the outside world also share that cold itself is a pathogen.
In the West we know that weather can affect our overall ability to fight off pathogenic factors, yet the difference in schools of though is that we don’t call cold a pathogen in itself.
Cold as a pathogen is part of what we in TCM call the ‘6 Exogenous Pathogenic Factors’ - meaning exterior influences coming from our environment.
As a pathogen, Cold has the ability to invade into the body through our most external organ - the skin.
Cold often invades along with other exogenous factors such as ‘wind’ and/or ‘dampness’ and symptoms will be different according to the invading factors in question. Cold as a pathogen invades the body through the pores in our skin which tend to be open when sweating or after a warm shower. So it is important not to go outside with wet hair in the winter, to cover your neck in the wind and to wear weather appropriate clothing. As cold invades the body you may experience superficial symptoms such as a clear runny nose, chills, stiffness, headache, sneezing or cold hands/feet. If this cold is not expelled from our body, IE. properly warming foods, clothes and environment, then the cold may transmute further invading organs/channels causing deeper and more chronic symptoms. Symptoms that come with deeper penetration of cold into the body aren’t quite the normal respiratory symptoms we see with viruses or a superficial cold invasion as mentioned above - and the symptoms vary per the individuals unique constitution. For example, cold invasion in the digestive system (spleen/stomach) may present as vomiting clear fluids, epigastric pain, abdominal dis- tension and diarrhoea; while cold invasion in the kidney system may present as chronic stiffness in the lower back and knees.
This large variety of symptoms, and “strange” pathogenic invasion is why allopathic practitioners may have a hard time pin-pointing strange pains and sensations that never show up on tests. Meanwhile, in this case an Acupuncturist may be able to reduce and even completely remove chronic symptoms by using appropriate therapy’s such as Moxabustion to reintroduce heat to the body and re-establish the body’s natural homeostasis. Simply put, cold invasion presents itself differently depending on the depth and level it has invaded to, as well as the persons individual constitution IE. strong/weak immune system, frail, athlete etc. So if you’ve been exposed to lots of cold, and you find yourself suffering from indigestion or achey bones - make yourself a nice warm cup of ginger tea, or a Hot-Toddy and find yourself an Acupuncturist.