Finally we know what is Masuk Angin

Category : Adventure | Posted On Sep 30, 2018

Have you heard about Masuk Angin? 

Do you know what is it exactly?This article will help you to understand what is it and you will realise that it is not an urban Legend.


Did you know that Indonesians are sort of afraid of the wind? 

Yes... No? Well yes. The reason behind this fear is a particular local illness. It seems to happen when winds or cool chills make you sick. We are talking about Masuk Angin, the name literally translates to "enter wind" and it is actually something the locals fear. Just as westerns fear catching a cold.

Masuk Angin can be considered as cold as far as the symptoms are concerned but really its not. Many years I considered myself healthy and never felt the need of visiting a Doctor. Any time that i felt unwell I just shrugged it off as Masuk Angin. As there was always an easy fixture through Kerokan or Tolak Angin.

Masuk Angin is confusing, as it seems to be a mixture of many things. It feels like a cold or as the initial stages of flu. Otherwise you feel fatigued, nausea, cramps, headaches or stomach upsets. So yes its basically every thing bad but only to the level of minimum discomfort. And the wind is the one to be blamed for.

Tourists in Bali always found this topic funny as they can't comprehend the concept of winds being bad. So I finally decided to consult with a Doctor to sort this confusion about Masuk Angin.

Andi Khomeini Takdir Haruni, of the Indonesian Doctors Association explained summarized the symptoms of Masuk Angin to vary every time. He also stated that locals normally blame feeling of small illness like fever, joint pain of generally feeling queasy on Masuk Angin. 

So far the understanding about Masuk Angin is being a combination of multiple symptoms pointing as a single illness. 


Question is then why don't other countries have Masuk Angin or its varied version? 


It leads to the point whether it is related with the tropical climate of Indonesia. The weather is more or less same throughout the year with a chance of rain. 

Yes we are right, Masuk Angin is related to the climate but not in the way one would think so. This disease is also present throughout east asian regions but in different names. Melani Budianta, a cultural studies professor at Universitas Indonesia, explained it by quoting a work of U.S Psychologist who she once saw in Yogyakarta.
"I think culturally it's local knowledge that bursts into cultural spectrum, which is the knowledge of wind," Melani told me. "Wind is important in Southeast Asia, that's why people use 'wind' as a metaphor."

She further explained that "Masuk Angin is generally described as being related to and keeping a balance with the nature" She further added that "Wind gives a picture of how certain areas and climates are linked and something that close shows how nature works.

You will see the word Angin being repeated in angin duduk which literally means sitting wind. Angin Duduk is said to be the reason behind sudden death. Some people including me always thought these two angin were related. But if angin masuk isn't a disease when what is angin duduk. So it turn angin duduk is sudden cardiac arrest.

Dr Andi explained that is also a symptom which people describe the feeling as angin duduk. However it isn't the sickness itself, its just a symptom of heart attack. We are back to it not being a medical term. It just a description by the people.

So we are back to the scratch. It is simple as that when people in west feel sick they describe the cause. Like they have hay fever or cold or food poisoning. The main idea is Indonesian people prefer describing the feeling rather than the case. Well in most East Asia it works the same. So what do you call a cold in tropics?

Credit to Arzia Tivany Wargadiredja


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