April is the Cruelest Month

SunflowersApril is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland

In New York City, we love April. It is the time to come out of winter hibernation and breathe the fresh air again. But as T.S. Eliot writes, April is also has the potential to be cruel.

Chinese medicine physicians over the generations caution about the cruelty of April. The weather changes frequently so it is a time which we can easily get sick. The warmer weather also creates an environment for heat which builds up in the body over the winter to come out in spring. This can lead to allergies and spring rashes like pityriasis rosea.

Seasonal Allergies

Those with allergies know that April can be cruel.    Allergies cause significant discomfort and disruption to your life.  But being cruel, these symptoms are not enough.  There is also an increase in anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping during allergy seasons.

Springtime Colds

The body adjusts to each season in order to keep you from getting a cold. According to Chinese medicine, the qi, the body’s energy, is what protects you from getting sick. Frequent weather changes tax your qi and make you more susceptible to getting a cold.  So it is important to boost your qi with acupuncture and acupressure this time of year.

Spring Rashes and Allergies

Heat is a common cause of skin conditions. In the spring, the sudden temperature change can cause heat in the body to manifest on the skin as a rash. Pityriasis rosea is a good example of this because it is a sudden rash the commonly occurs in the spring. The runny nose, sneezing, sinus congestion, and itchy eyes of seasonal allergies are also a manifestation of the heat inside the body pushing outwards during the change of season.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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