Too much air in your body?

There is a term in Indonesian called “masuk angin” which, when translated literally means “too much air in the body”, and it is the most common ailment for Indonesian people. Its a funny idea, but in some ways , it makes some sense. I don’t know if there is more air around getting in to our bodies here, but it does seem to account for a lot of problems!

The symptoms of masuk angin are very similar to those of a common cold, headache, stomach ache, cough etc. These symptoms come on after being caught in a rain storm (too much wind), or spending too much time on a motorbike (wind whizzing by as you ride).This wind is believed to enter in to the body and cause all the cold like symptoms. In order to get better, you need to expel this wind. One way is to have a massage, and I find this works wonders for me.

My husband swears by an old traditional method of literally sucking out the wind. This can be seen in the featured image, where horn shaped items are placed on the back, using heat to provide suction. By doing so, these horns suck out the wind. This can also be performed with a candle and a glass, but can result in hot wax dripping on your skin,which is not very comfortable. Once the horns are removed, you are left with red circles all over your back, where the wind has escaped.

Another method is to rub a coin in lines on the back, which causes red lines, similar to lines created by a whip. It looks like the person has been subjected to torture, but everyone that sees these lines knows what they mean, and  will nod their heads in sympathy saying “masuk angin?”

Alternatively, to prevent the wind coming in to the body at all, you can take a medicine called “tolak angin” which literally repells the wind away from your body. Not sure how it does that. Here is a picture of it in case you want to try:tolak angin

6 thoughts on “Too much air in your body?

  1. This sounds a lot like the mysterious Italian condition of cervicale. This is caused by getting in a draught of any kind and it causes excrucitaing inflammation in the neck, leading to headache, stiffness and generally being very unwell.
    A dreadful condition – beware of living in italy too long for even foreigners can develop it after they’ve been here enough years! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think after Bali, she’ll be freaked out by how much the Sicilians shout, though!!!
        But they have great puppet traditions like the Balinese, great food (without wacky Asian food poisoning as a free extra) and marvellously flamboyant religious customs. I am noticing more and more similarities….

        Liked by 1 person

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