Internal Wind in Chinese Medicine


Internal Wind 

One of the more difficult traditional Chinese medical (TCM) concepts to explain in plain language. Wind is one of the “Five Evils” according to traditional Chinese medicine. Wind and other internal "evils" including internal Cold, Damp, Dryness, and Heat-Fire contribute to a wide array of disease processes.  

Internal Wind is most often associated with the Liver energetic organ, the Wood Element of the 5 Phases theory, and therefore spring because spring is the season of the Wood Element. Internal Wind commonly develops in the elderly as their bodies become more frail and deficient in nature.

This article is an attempt to simplify a very complex concept so that those who are not Chinese medical professionals can begin to develop a general understanding of “Wind” as it manifests in the body and as disease.

Symptoms of Internal Wind

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Chinese medical theory tends to be quite poetic, and the theories expressed are typically Universal Laws; therefore, analogies from nature abound. The springtime is very windy, wind moves around a lot, and weather changes fast; some of these elements are often true of disease patterns due to Internal Wind listed above.


Quick or Chronic Disease?

The truth is, there are very few internal diseases that develop very quickly; it is only the symptoms that appear quickly. People believe that they do not have high blood pressure until the day the doctor declares that they are hypertensive; stroke appears to be a lightning bolt of bad luck to those who are struck by one.  However, poor diet, alcohol consumption, Liver Heat and other factors have been contributing to "thick Blood", or "sticky Blood", (likened to high cholesterol) that forms into blood clots over many years in the eyes of TCM.

When high blood pressure presents or a stroke occurs, the patient has already been sick for a long time according to Chinese medicine. In order to prevent disease, one ideally recognizes and corrects the underlying patterns of imbalance and treats them as part of a wellness health strategy.


Patterns of Imbalance that Cause Internal Wind

Liver Fire and Internal Wind

Peaceful Warrior Organic Ageless HerbsIn ancient times Liver Fire was developed from pathogenic diseases such as hemorrhagic fevers; today, this cause is not commonly seen. More commonly, Liver Heat progresses to Liver Fire due to alcohol consumption, poor dietary practices, and emotional stresses.

The condition actually develops over a long period of time, but the Liver Fire can result in a severe migraine headache very quickly. Ideally, one would recognize the signs of Liver Qi Congestion and developing Heat before a more critical condition develops. This is a clear example of how one can be an active participant in one’s wellness and prevention of disease.

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Liver Yin Deficiency and Internal Wind

Free and Easy Wanderer Liver Qi Stagnation Organic HerbsIf Liver Heat persists in the body it will begin to consume Yin. Yin is substance, blood, tissue. When these substances are consumed a void is created. Wind is opportunistic and will fill a void when it presents itself.

When the Liver is out of balance it is most commonly excessive in nature; it tends to heat up and strike out at the digestive system and cause issues such as IBS; rise up to the head and cause headaches and migraines; attack the Heart and cause insomnia and emotional problems. Although this is technically called a “deficient” pattern, it will present as something called “Deficient Heat” and look excessive.

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Blood Deficiency and Internal Wind

Sage Mountain Organic Ageless Herbs Again, Wind loves to invade spaces with voids; therefore, it is very important to keep the channels and vessels filled with Qi (Chi) and Blood. When one becomes Qi Deficient or Blood Deficient Wind will occupy hollow spaces throughout the body. Because we tend to become more Deficient as we age, diseases due to Wind, or exasperated by Internal Wind are more common in the elderly. A less common cause of Blood Deficiency is due to trauma and blood loss, but this condition too can allow for Internal Wind to develop.

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Six Types of Diseases Caused By Wind

  1. Diseases involving excessively spastic movements of the body such as epilepsy (convulsions) and Parkinsonʼs disease
  2. Diseases involving symptoms appearing in different parts of the body at different times such as early stage rheumatism involving differing joints or skin rashes that appear in different places
  3. Diseases that involve a loss of movement such as stroke, paralysis, tetany, and coma
  4. Bi Syndromes which include various pain syndromes, numbness, and spastic syndromes, including headache, toothache, limb numbness, tendon spasms, arthritis, deep bone pain
  5. Surface diseases or skin diseases such as rashes, chronic eczema, scrofula, hair loss
  6. Acute diseases that come on swiftly. With acute diseases, Wind is the vehicle by which pathogens enter the body. Examples would include the common cold, influenza, sinus infection, itchy skin eruption, sore throat, cough, eye disorders/infections (especially with itchy eyes and twitching of the eyes) and allergic reactions such as hay fever

The Difference Between External and Internal Wind

Wind is one of the six external causes of disease and is associated with the Five Elements or 5 Phases systematic correspondences of the Wood Element. Wind is an entity that has can have external OR internal origins; in other words, external pathogenic Wind can be caused by an acute pathogenic invasion of Wind from the environment resulting a common cold, hay fever, or flu. Alternatively, Wind can be created by chronic disease, deficiencies and imbalances of the body. In TCM, Wind interacts with Cold, Damp, Heat, to cause complex disease patterns which accounts for varying symptoms.

Untreated External Wind Invasion Causing Internal Wind and Chronic Disease Pattern

External Wind invasion of pathogens such as viruses or bacteria must be treated appropriately and quickly so that they do not penetrate down to the internal organ levels. At the point when External Wind reaches the organ level, it can stir up Internal Wind and become lodged internally in organs, channels, vessels, or muscle tissue. External pathogens should be pushed out of the body with herbs that cause sweating; they are called diaphoretic.