Sometimes, more and more often lately with the aberrant weather patterns in Qualicum Beach...I wake up with my body aching. I feel swollen, skin hot to the touch, stiff and sore.
This malady has everything to do with what's happening with the weather. For as long as I can remember, I've known the weather is changing by the way my body is reacting.
Many times lately, I will get up out of the warm, soft, absolutely comfortable bed, and try to lessen pain by walking around. But it feels, when I walk, as if I am slogging through an oozing bog. It feels as if there is resistance to movement.
Sometimes, I feel as if I might be on the receiving end of a migraine attack. If Wind is howling, as it has so often lately, asthma and wheezing occur. This is when my chest feels tight, I have trouble finding enough air to breathe...I almost feel as if I were under water. With small, shallow breaths, anxiety occurs...a kind of free- floating form that has no basis in fact. My tissues swell, sometimes. There is a definite feeling of being under a heavy substance, one that is pressing hard on my diaphragm.
Biometeorology is the study of how weather influences people. It is the name given to an ancient science that has become new again, with advanced technology that can evaluate air mass configurations. It is becoming a popular field. But there are naysayers...it will always be thus, of course.
I know many people who know of someone who is weather-sensitive. There are many stories of an elder Uncle or Aunt who could predict weather changes with such accuracy that outdoor events were scheduled according to the pain in her hip. Many stories abound about our forefathers utilizing weather indicators, including intuitive body signs. Still, these are just myths and legends, scientists say...much more data needs to be collected before they will endorse the correlation between weather and man.
However, in Europe, the weather services there use daily public advisories to inform people of more than 40 ailments believed affected by climate activity. Illnesses warned against include allergies, stroke, psychoses, general achiness and malaise, migraines, along with the obvious...heat and cold related illnesses. Much the same information appears on the weather channel I use on the Internet, but it takes a back seat to other information.
My allergies get worse during sudden cold outbreaks, when there are below normal temp- eratures, strong, gusty winds and a rapid rise in air pressure. I have learned to read a barometer very well in preparation for pain.
I find that quickly approaching weather fronts and rapidly departing ones, contribute to a migraine attack. And strokes...French researchers have found there were fewer strokes suffered in warmer months and more strokes where there was a temperature drop five days before. The theory is temperature drops may affect blood clotting, thereby increasing stoke risk. Sudden, extreme winter cold can result in hyperventilation, stroke and heart attack, by making blood 20% thicker than normal.
Chinese Emperor Hwang Ti, in 2650 BC, believed that "hot weather strengthens the heart, while cold weather weakens the lungs." Hippocrates advised his students "Doctors who want to know their patients had better know weather." Dr. Benjamin Rush, an 18th Century Penn- sylvanian physician, stated "Great and sudden (weather) changes may be considered the principle causes of disease in this state".
And Dr. Joseph Hollander, in the 1960's, as an Arthritis specialist, built a two room, airtight chamber, where his patients underwent various degrees of pain, while he adjusted humidity, temperature and barometric pressure. I wonder if Dr. Hollander himself was weather- sensitive. I can't imagine the extreme pain and terrible discomfort his patients felt.
Weather is one of the most basic of daily stresses the human body experiences. Frequent climactic changes bring new situations our bodies must adjust to. Changes in the barometric pressure, Wind direction and velocity, humidity and pollutants all affect our bodies, endocrine systems, nervous systems and cardiovascular systems. It seems to me that how well I feel at different times is directly related to what's happening in the atmosphere.
Both our dogs can forecast the weather. The signs of an incoming Storm will find them both pointing their nose skyward, with definite fearful body signals, such as lowered heads and ears, and tails tucked between their legs. This behavior is noticed long before the Storm actually arrives. Other animals such as Corn Snake or Iguana, if confused by weather signals, will double-clutch, where they will breed twice in a year instead of the normal once.
I don't require corroboration by the scientific community to know what my body endures when the weather patterns change. There are scores of people who, upon entering their middle years, find that what were minor twinges all along, are now not so mild in reaction to weather changes. The human body is a finely tuned instrument...it has much to tell us, if we will only remember and listen. And accept our intuition as truth.
Shamans of old long ago forecast the weather with nothing more than the signals Mother Earth sends, and nothing more than their own bodies as sensors. They were extremely accurate, by all accounts.
There is so much information inside of ourselves, just waiting to be reborn...re-membered. I am learning to find those senses we are all born with, and I am learning to trust those remarkably amazing signals my intuition sends me.
Science and research on weather sensitive people is just telling me what I, and others, have known all along. The scientific community feels it must prove the body is affected by weather patterns, by exhaustive research and collecting of data. It changes nothing; other than making sure I have a healthy diet, use exercise and reduce further stress inducing factors, I will still react to the weather...
And there is not much I can do about aberrant weather.