We all know that the more you do, the busier you get. Just as the more roads are built, the more cars fill the roads up. We can only hope they start building more bike paths instead. Anyway, so I’ve been busy and that’s why I’ve been missing in action.
A whole season has passed since the last post. It is now Autumn. The temperature drops; the cold wind picks up; it starts raining. In the next breath, we have sunny, dry days. Right this minute in the second week of April, it is a a sunny 27 degrees and we’re back to shorts and Tshirts. Southern Victoria and Melbourne are infamous for the expression that we have four seasons in one day. Recently we even had four seasons in one consult and it went on all day…
From a Chinese Medicine point of view, it is also a time of change. Here is a quote from an article about the chinese concept of wind. ‘ Wind is considered as the backbone of many diseases in TCM. It affects the body in the same way as moving branches and leaves on a tree affect the tree’ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5234349/) . It is not the calendar Autumn that we should be concerned about but the weather autumn. In the last few years it has started around the end of February. Down where I live anyway. During times of change, our bodies may not be able to adapt quickly enough and this applies to our animals too.
Although conditions such as back strain and even disc prolapses occur all year round, we certainly see clusters around the start of Autumn and beginning of Spring. This year our clinic has taken steps to reduce the chances of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) by booking maintenance checks for our long back dogs such as the Dachshund at the change of the season. Sure enough, we found quite a few with tight backs and the beginnings of twinges and stiffness. Hopefully, it has allowed these dogs to cope better with the changeable weather at the moment.
Immune System disorders
It’s not only back issues that rear their ugly heads at this time of the year but gastrointestinal, skin and even the dreaded cancer can be influenced by the weakening of the immune system as the body adapts to change. Western medicine has perfected the art of knocking the bugs for six. We have antibiotics, antiinflammatories, antidepressants, antiemetics….There are more ‘antis’ than we can poke a stick at. However, Chinese medicine also emphasizes the other side of the coin which is improving the bodies ability to fight the bugs. Acupuncture, herbs supplements, appropriate food, massage and lifestyle can boost the body’s ability to block that pernicious wind.
Traditionally, even something as simple as water should be drunk at room temperature as cold water can cause too big a change to the body and weaken its defences. The same principle can be applied to the food we feed our pets. It should be at room temperature. Food straight from the fridge or freezer is not ideal. One of my chinese medicine teachers used to tell us off for eating ice-creams. Sadly, it hasn’t stopped me indulging in this treat.