In our last newsletter we discussed acupuncture strategies for treating seasonal allergies as well as common types of cold, all of which in Chinese medicine are termed “Wind Invasions.” This sounds a bit dramatic, but as a functional metaphor it explains exactly what is going on in the body and the environment. “Wind” simply means any pathogen or allergen carried through the air. Allergens are especially problematic in spring and fall, whereas different types of bugs can be carried through the air during times like the flu season. “Invasion” is not dissimilar to the word infection, and has the same implications. Generally the Chinese think that if the immune system is weakened or imbalanced wind can invade, i.e. you get sick. Understanding what these two words mean, helps one understand how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine seek to cure the problem. The approach with both is two pronged: 1) Expel the Pathogens (this is important since invasion or infection means they’ve already breached our defenses) 2) Boost the Wei Qi and Secure the Exterior (this is fancy metaphorical language for strengthening the immune system).