Sunday, September 29, 2013

Acupuncture and Cold Season

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there is no exact translation for virus or bacteria but there is the concept of exterior pathogens or “evils” as they were called in the ancient times. The main exterior evil that can invade the body is Wind. The concept of Wind in TCM is similar to the nature of wind in that it can come about all of a sudden and is ever changing. Wind can combine with other exterior evils such as heat, cold, and dampness causing a wide range of symptoms.

There are two main types of common colds in TCM:
Wind-Heat - symptoms such as fever, slight sweating, slight chills, cough, congested nose with yellow mucus, sore throat, swollen tonsils, and thirst
  • acupuncture points can be chosen that help expel the pathogen, clear excess heat from the body, and help the lungs to function properly to stop cough
  • a classic formula consisting of herbs such as honeysuckle and forsythia fruit is a must have for any medicine cabinet
  • or a simple tea of fresh mint and dried chrysanthemum flower can be drunk to help relieve some symptoms as well
Wind-Cold – symptoms such chills, aversion to cold, slight fever, cough, congested nose with clear watery mucus, sneezing, headache, neck stiffness, and general body aches 
  • acupuncture points can be chosen that expel the pathogen from the body, warm excess cold, and help the lungs to function properly to stop coughing and relieve congestion
  • a delicious tea of ginger and cinnamon can help warm the body and relieve chills    

Don’t wait until it’s too late! As soon as you start having any signs of an impending cold, see your acupuncturist. Research has shown that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can drastically reduce the length and severity of a cold or flu if treated promptly.  

Even better…There are also ways to protect ourselves from catching colds in the first place. In TCM there is the concept of Wei Qi or Defensive Qi, which can be compared to the immune system in Western Medicine. Wei Qi acts as a defensive barrier protecting the body from external pathogens.

People who have strong Wei Qi rarely catch colds and easily fend off attack of exterior evils. But for the majority of the population who’s Defensive Qi has been depleted due to living rushed and stressful lives, we are susceptible to catching colds on a regular basis. Acupuncture and TCM can help! There are acupuncture points, mainly along the Lung Meridian, when needled can simulated the strengthening of the immune system and build up the body’s resistance to colds and flu. There are also TCM formulas that can be taken to boost the immune system as well.

For those interested in strengthening their Wei Qi, it is best to start before cold and flu season starts. Seeing your acupuncturist before the fall equinox for a series of acupuncture treatments and a course of herbal formulas to boost your immune system will help you have a healthy winter season!


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