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When dark clouds roll in and relentless rains and howling winds lash the landscape, many people start to feel sluggish, achy and just plain lousy.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), wind is viewed as a pernicious force capable of invading the body and causing stagnation, pain, and illness if the defensive qi (energy) is weakened. Dampness refers to the negative effects of excessive moisture and humidity, bogging down the body’s systems. When wind and dampness combine, they are believed to severely hamper the smooth flow of qi and blood, leading to that achy, lethargic feeling many experience during storms.

Fortunately, the TCM toolbox offers simple yet effective remedies to counteract these influences and boost energy when wild weather strikes. First, staying warm and dry is crucial, as wind and dampness can more easily penetrate if you get chilled. Dressing in layers, avoiding getting wet when possible, and warming the body from within with soups, stews, and herbal teas can help bolster defenses.

One popular Taiwanese remedy for reducing dampness is consuming pearl barley and small red beans, often cooked until tender and served as a sweet soup.

However, one of the best ways to overcome sluggishness and stagnation is through movement practices like Qigong, Kung Fu, and Tai Chi. The flowing, meditative motions powerfully circulate qi and blood to resolve areas of stagnation. Even a short daily session practicing sets like Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, Yi Jin Jing Qigong, or the classical Yang style Tai Chi form can be incredibly revitalizing. So don’t succumb to the rainy day blues – harness these ancient energy exercises to open the body’s channels and restore vitality, no matter how blustery the weather.

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