2007-02-02 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

On Becoming Cold
By Dr. Nancy Gahles


DR. nancy gahles
DR. nancy gahles While it is true that we had a reprieve from the onset of cold weather, the recent drop in temperatures has brought on a corresponding drop in temperament.

Seems that cold begets cold. That is, coldness in moods. I hear complaints of irritability, shortness of temper, aggravation, depression, anxiety, insomnia, resentment and bitterness.

On the physical level the body responds to cold by shivering and contracting. Thus we see muscle and joint pain, stiffness, locomotion difficulties from creaking, compromised motion to outright immobility.

Lack of mobility leads to isolation and isolation leads to depression. This coupled with lack of sunlight and we are all in a state! This state lowers our immunity and predisposes us to get sick. Each of us will get "sick" according to our susceptibility. For example, there have been a number of cases of viruses recently that manifest in stomach and abdomen related symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Some patients only had vomiting as their stomachs are most sensitive. Others had both symptoms reflecting tissue affinities for the whole GI tract. Another group of people had a virus that caused chronic, repetitive spasmodic coughing and upper respiratory symptoms. These are people who have tissue sensitivity in the respiratory tract.

There are multiple treatment options available to relieve the symptoms of a virus such as hydration (drinking lots of water) and humidifying the air especially at night. Put a few drops of essential oil of eucalyptus into the bottom of the shower while steaming in a shower to loosen the mucous in the nose and chest. Eat nutritious foods of the season such as root vegetables, yams and legumes ( beans, lentils, chick peas). Get lots of rest. Go to bed early and arise with the sun. During the day get as much sunlight as possible. Even if it is cold, try to go out for lunch break. Get the afternoon light and a brisk 20 minute walk. Always dress for the weather. Layers keep the warmth in more efficiently and allow you the flexibility to adapt to sudden changes in temperature as from going inside a warm office to outside waiting for the bus on your way home. Always wear a hat! Most heat is lost from the head and I am always amazed at the fact that people don't cover their heads in the cold, particularly the children.

Moodiness during winter is usually the result of isolation/deprivation. When it is cold we tend to curtail activities. Not just the ones that we would normally do outside but simply getting in the car and going somewhere is off-putting. Boredom abounds. My advice is to develop activities inside the house that are fun. Certainly the technology of today facilitates this. I was recently shown a hand held bowling game that you play on TV that was enormous fun. Bowling leagues in your own home with no risk of back injury from that heavy ball. Billiards, sauna/spa parties, dinner parties are all means of socializing and remaining connected during the cold months.

The deprivation part is a result of self-imposed penalties for over consumption during the holidays. Many of us are on strict diets or budgets and feel deprived. My advice here is….next year plan ahead about how much you will spend on the holidays and make a realistic budget, one that doesn't include buying on credit. Make meaningful purchases throughout the year with cash. Give love instead of material things. DO indulge in the holiday foods but not AFTER the holiday season. Limit yourself to appropriate eating.

Should you be one of those people who are really aggravated ( in mind, body or spirit) by becoming cold, homeopathy provides a solution for relief. Homeopathy is a system of healing that takes into account the totality of your symptoms on all levels and addresses the "state" you are in by matching that with an appropriate homeopathic remedy to stimulate your body to heal itself.

An interesting example would be a person who loves to exercise regularly and feels that he will not be healthy unless he does so. When the cold weather comes and prevents him from going outdoors, he becomes restless, anxious and insecure. The physical symptoms that he will likely get with a virus are high fever with complete exhaustion; nausea with retching and vomiting after eating and drinking as well as the characteristic of vomiting immediately after drinking ice cold water. Diarrhea with burning sensation is also a sign that Arsenicum Album is indicated.

This example provides a snapshot into a way of understanding how to prevent and treat a whole person who becomes sick at certain times of the year.

It allows us to take a glimpse into our basic nature and become empowered to use our intuition to guide us to avenues of healing ourselves and choosing mentors/professionals to accompany us on our journey.

The truth is we are our own best advocate. The truth is we are able to heal ourselves. The truth is that we can access our databank of innate information through quiet listening. The truth is we have all the answers inside.

The truth will set you free.

Be bold, be courageous, be-come yourself.

May The Blessings Be!

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