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Scientists have been studying weather’s impact on the human body for years (called biometeorology), and have found that sudden temperature changes, cold snaps, heat waves and even –thunderstorms all have a direct effect on certain conditions.

Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause serious life-threatening health problems particularly for those at risk like the elderly and infants

The body’s reactions to low temperatures puts stress on the cardiovascular system. These reactions include constriction of blood vessels in the skin, shallow breathing through the mouth, and slight thickening of the blood, all of which can lead indirectly to angina (chest pain) in people with heart disease.

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.
In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered “extreme cold.” Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat will leave your body more rapidly. When temperatures whip wildly from high to low people are often adversely affected. It is not only the shock of the change that our bodies react to but sometimes we are just not prepared or dressed right. People who have high blood pressure, or heart problems especially need to take extra care in dressing warmly for cold-weather walks.

High winds, snow and rain also steal body heat contributing to the cold penetrating more deeply into the body. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. At 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a 30-mile wind, the cooling effect is equal to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions.
As the speed of the wind increases, it will carry heat away from your body much more quickly, causing skin temperatures to drop. When there are high winds, serious weather-related health problems are more likely, even when temperatures are only cool.
Extreme cold is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people including those with thyroid trouble. Cold is a known source of disease and death. Chinese medicine for thousands of years recognized cold (and heat) as two principle causes of disease. In very cold weather, bodily heat escapes quickly, leaving less energy and fewer resources available to deal with basic needs.

Cold lowers the heart’s supply of blood, while exertion raises the demand for it. This imbalance between supply and demand can cause attacks of chest pain. Even in people who don’t have heart disease, cold exposure can raise blood pressure. To conserve heat, the muscles contract to obstruct the flow of blood to the arms and legs. This reroutes extra blood to the vital organs and boosts the blood pressure.

Some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are greatly impacted by the weather (especially cold and/or rain), while others are minimally affected, if at all. In general, weather extremes of any kind will place additional stress upon the body, which is usually not helpful for those already suffering a host of conditions.

For an estimated 5-10 percent of the population, cold weather triggers a painful and sometimes debilitating disorder for those who suffer from Raynaud’s disease. Raynaud’s is an autoimmune disorder in which spasms in the blood vessels can interrupt blood flow to the fingers, toes, nose and ears. Exposure to cold triggers the spasms, typically causing the affected area to turn white, then blue, then bright red. Cold-induced pain is from smaller blood vessels that tend to spasm in low temperatures, which leads to a restriction of blood flow to the associated areas.
Cold Syndromes – Chinese Medicine

In Chinese medicine, cold contracts and obstructs. Imagine how you feel standing outside when it is in the 30’s. Cold symptoms are feeling chilly, having cold limbs, a pale face, and the desire to drink warm liquids. Even pain in the joints and limbs or in the stomach can be due to cold.

Cold syndromes result from exposure to external cold or lack of heat (yang energy) inside the core of the body. Those will low thyroid function, iodine deficiencies, and lowered core body temperature will be most vulnerable.

Cold syndromes can present themselves with a variety of symptoms: pale complexion, preference for warmth, a bland taste, cold limbs, fatigue, clear profuse urine, loose bowels, thin and clear body discharges. There is usually a pale tongue with white glossy coating, and a slow or tense pulse.

Treatment for Cold Conditions

Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese method of burning herbs on or above the skin, usually at specific acupuncture points. Moxa is burnt like a cigar and held above the skin, which results in a pleasant warmth that deeply penetrates the tissue to stimulate, energize, and focus healing energy into specific acupuncture points.

The heat warms the energy (chi) and blood in the body and is useful in the treatment of disease and maintenance of health. Quite often pain and disease result from a blockage or improper flow of energy and blood, and moxibustion stimulates with heat to alleviate the original blockage and correct the flow.

Moxa is created from the herb Chinese Mugwort. This warming quality brings healing energy for many conditions such as in the chest it soothes asthma; relieves abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting; and in the extremities, it helps relieve arthritis and rheumatic pain.

In Chinese medicine, the nature of Moxa is said to be Yang. Yang energy is that energy that gives the body its functions and it movement. Moxa restores and warms weakened Yang; and it strengthens Yang from collapse. So it is often used when someone has been struggling with an illness to help rebuild strength and vitality.

Moxa expels cold and dampness. Moxa is an excellent disease preventative and helps maintain health. It has been used as a regular treatment for longevity. Since moxa is hot, it should not be used in febrile diseases of excess heat. In particular when one has a high fever such as in a common cold with a fever in excess of 102 degrees.
It should not be used where there are hot areas on the body. Certain areas of the body should be avoided with moxa such as large blood vessels, skin creases, mucous membranes, sensory organs, prominent tendons, and the breasts. During pregnancy, one should avoid having moxa on the lumbar, abdomen, or sacral region.

Part of the reason moxibustion works so well for pain is that it increases blood flow to painful areas, which acts as an analgesic and promotes prompt healing. It is especially effective in chronic pain where dramatic results are often seen.

Moxibustion Benefits

§ Strengthens Immune System

§ Increases red and white cell counts

§ Stimulates hormone production

§ Improves blood circulation

§ Invigorate energy flow (life force healing)

§ Anti-inflammatory

§ Analgesic

I am offering a package of acupuncture/Moxabustion visits for this particular purpose. It is 6 weekly visits and consultation for $699. Call us to schedule at:

847 577-4455

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Author's Bio: 

Taryn DeCicco ND, LAc, LDN of Apple A Day Clinic in Arlington Heights, IL has been specializing in Acne, Skin, and Digestive Disorders for over 16 years.