According to the Lingshu, a classical text in Chinese medicine known as the Celestial Pivot, the adverse influence of wind was considered so great that the sages ‘avoided the winds like avoiding arrows and stones.’ Like the sages mentioned in the Lingshu, we are all cautioned to avoid even subtle exposure to wind. The wind is considered a ‘pernicious influence’ in Chinese medicine. In ancient times, distinctions in wind were made relative to the bagua directions of the I Ching; each of which yields a certain pathological influence.
Adaptation from prose of Song Yü, 4th Century BCE
A gust of wind blows in. How pleasant a thing is this wind which is shared by all people. Wind is a Spirit of Heaven and Earth. It does not choose between noble and base, nor between high and low. Wind-Spirit comes to different things but wind is not all the same.
It follows the rolling flanks of mountains and dances beneath the pine trees and cypresses. In gusty bouts it whirls. It rushes in fiery anger. It rumbles low with a noise like thunder, tearing down rocks and trees, smiting forests and grasses. Once at last abating, it spreads abroad, seeking empty places and crossing the thresholds of rooms. Growing gentler and clearer, it changes and is dispersed and dies. Freeing itself, wind falls and rises. It bends the flowers and leaves with its breath. It wanders among the osmanthus and pepper-trees. It lingers over the fretted face of the pond to steal the soul of the hibiscus. It touches the willow leaves and scatters the fragrant herbs. Then it pauses in the courtyard and turning to the North goes up to the Jade Hall, shaking the hanging curtains and lightly passing into interior rooms. Wind is fresh and sweet to breathe, and its gentle murmuring cures the diseases of men, blows away the stupor of wine, sharpens sight and hearing, and refreshes the body.
There is also wind that is ill-wind; wind which rises from narrow lanes and streets, carrying clouds of dust. Rushing to empty spaces it attacks the gateway, scatters the dust-heap, sends the cinders flying, pokes among foul and rotting things, till at last it enters the tiled windows and reaches the rooms of a cottage. Now this wind is heavy and turgid, oppressing a wo/man’s heart. It brings fever to the body, ulcers to lips and dimness to eyes. It shakes one with coughing and weakens a person before their time.