Six Climatic Factors continued

The origins of disharmony in Chinese Medicine – continued

3 main factors can impact on the body:

1. The Six Climatic factors

2. The Seven Emotions

3. Way of life

Last week I introduced the six climatic factors: – Wind, Cold, Damp, Dryness, Fire or Heat and Summer-Heat. This week I will discuss each of the six climatic factors in more detail.


  • Wind is the major climatic element of spring.
  • Wind can be both internal and external (endogenous and exogenous).
  • Wind is a Yang pathogenic factor. It moves outwards and upwards, comes and goes rapidly, is changeable and moves around the body. Wind usually attacks the Yang parts of the body i.e. surface and upper body. It is characterised by constant movement such as tics, tremors or spasms.

External wind

  • Heat, Damp, Dryness and Cold usually rely on the Wind to invade the body.
  • Wind-Cold syndrome results in headache, aching, congested nose, loud cough, chills and no sweating.
  • Wind-Heat syndrome results in a swollen and sore throat, thirst, fever and sweating.
  • Wind-Damp syndrome results in chills, heavy limbs, and muzzy head, painful, heavy and swollen joints that change around the body.
  • Wind-Dryness syndrome results in a dry mouth, dry nose, dry skin and a dry cough.

Internal wind

  • The Liver organ system is primarily affected by pathogenic Wind and is called Liver Wind leading to spasms, convulsions, numbness, tremors, blurred vision, vertigo etc.


  • Heat/Fire is the major climatic element of summer.
  • Pathogenic Heat/Fire is usually internal.
  • Heat/Fire is a Yang pathogenic factor. It flares upwards and tends to affect the head and sense organs.

Internal Heat/Fire

  • The Heart organ system is primarily affected by pathogenic Heat/Fire.
  • Diseases of Heat/Fire have symptoms of dryness as pathogenic Heat/Fire burns the vital essence in the body.
  • Fire/Heat can burn and damage the vessels of the body resulting in symptoms of bleeding, skin eruptions and dry stools.
  • Heat/Fire diseases may result from any of the other 5 climatic factors. The 7 emotions (to be introduced in my next blog) can also turn into pathogenic Heat/Fire.


  • Damp is the major climatic element of late summer.
  • Pathogenic Damp is external and internal and tends to promote each other.
  • Damp is a Yin pathogenic factor. It tends to affect the Yin parts of the body disturbing the normal flow of Qi, especially Yang qi. It is heavy and turbid and downward in movement.

External Damp

  • External pathogenic Damp damages the surface of the body.
  • Symptoms are chills; heavy limbs; sluggishness; no thirst; stuffy feeling in the chest; joints may feel heavy, sore and painful. The pain in joints will be fixed.

Internal Damp

  • The Spleen organ system is primarily affected by pathogenic Damp producing sluggishness, oedema, nausea, poor appetite, discharge, loose stools and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen and head.
  • Diseases of pathogenic Damp tend to linger, are difficult to remove and relapses are frequent.


  • Dryness is the major climatic element of autumn.
  • Pathogenic Dryness is external and internal.
  • Dryness is a Yang pathogenic factor tending to deplete the fluids in the body.

External Dryness

  • Invades the body through the nose or mouth and usually affects the Lung organ system.
  • Pathogenic Dryness originating in warm weather results in fever; a dry hot feeling in the nose; headache; thirst; restlessness; dry cough with little sputum and difficulty coughing.
  • Pathogenic Dryness originating in cold weather results in an aversion to cold; fever; headache; nasal obstruction; dry throat and mouth.

Internal Dryness

  • The Lung organ system is primarily affected by pathogenic Dryness resulting in a severe depletion of body fluids. Symptoms include thirst; dry skin; dry hair; constipation; thin emaciated muscles; dry tongue and scanty urination.


  • Cold is the major climatic element of winter.
  • Pathogenic Cold is external and internal.
  • Cold is a Yin pathogenic factor inhibiting the body’s Yang Qi.

External Cold

  • Invades the body invades the surface of the body and usually affects the Lung organ system.
  • Pathogenic Cold originates from a sudden climate change or from staying a cold place too long. Symptoms include: fever; aversion to cold; headaches; body aches; stuffy nose; coughing and a lack of sweating.
  • If we overeat cold food the Yang Qi of the Spleen and Stomach is affected and causes a dysfunction of the digestive system leading to cold and pain in the abdomen; indigestion, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Internal Cold

  • The Kidney organ system is primarily affected by pathogenic Cold resulting in a person feeling cold, experiencing pain in the low back or knees and frequent urination.


  • Like Heat/Fire Summer- Heat is the major climatic element of summer and is converted from Heat and Fire.
  • Pathogenic Summer-Heat is the only pathogenic factor that is seasonal occurring only in summer and is completely external due to exposure to extreme heat.
  • Summer-Heat is a Yang pathogenic factor and tends to ascend and disperse exhausting the body’s energy and damaging the body’s fluids.

External Summer- Heat

  • The main symptoms include fever, excessive sweating, thirst, irritability, fatigue and shortness of breath.
  • Summer heatstroke is another common syndrome that occurs in summer. In more serious cases the person can lose consciousness
    and go into a state of shock.
  • Summer-Heat often is accompanied by Damp and as well as the symptoms described above there will be the additional malaise, heaviness of extremities, loss of appetite, nausea, loose stools and dark urine.

In my next blog I will introduce the 7 emotions.

Speak to you soon.

Lorraine x

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