wind-coldOn my way to drop off the kids this morning, I noticed frost on the ground for the first time this season, a signal to finally put away our fall rain coats and make sure that all our winter gear is front and center in the hall. It’s also a good reminder to make sure that everyone has got their wind gate covered when they’re going outside.

Although the name “wind gate” is the literal translation of a specific point on the bladder channel (UB 12, Feng Men, or 風門 to be exact) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is often used to talk about the entire back of the neck and upper back. According to TCM, external pathogens enter the body through the wind gate. In other words, we are most susceptible to environmental forces such as wind when our necks are exposed to the elements.

Invasion by wind can lead to those all-too-familiar cold and flu symptoms – chills, fever, body aches, runny nose, congestion, and cough. This vulnerability is increased if we also go outside with damp hair or do other things to impair our immune system responses (poor diet, inadequate rest, lack of exercise, drink too much alcohol, etc…) Parents everywhere can rejoice in a moment of “I told you so” about all those times they implored you to wear a scarf, or not to go outside with wet hair.

If it wasn’t already obvious, it’s officially cold and flu season out there. And in a couple of days, it’s Halloween. Be sure to figure out how to incorporate a scarf or a hood into your costume and cover up that wind gate. Especially if you’re planning on indulging in some Halloween treats.