In the west we believe that once we have a cold we just have to suffer through it.
Chinese Medicine has wonderful remedies for reducing the severity of symptoms, shortening the course of illness or even preventing it from developing all together!
Some background information: In Chinese Medicine a common cold is considered an invasion of wind, either combined with heat or cold. The pathogens enter through the mouth and nose, as well as the neck, which is why one of the early symptoms of a cold is a stiff achy neck. The body’s response to the pathogen occurs at the skin level, where ‘righteous Qi’ (our immunity) struggles against the invasion, creating symptoms like chills and fever. The lung system is also involved and reacts with nasal congestion or cough.
Treatment: Treatment is focused on expelling the pathogen by regulating the Qi at the skin level, opening the pores (so that the pathogen can escape) and stimulating sweating. Acupuncture is very effective for regulating the ‘righteous Qi’ and specific points are used to support the body. In addition your acupuncturist is likely to do some cupping or guasha on your upper back to help open the pores, and will give you some herbal formulas that are specifically designed to strengthen the body’s ‘righteous Qi’ and expel the pathogen.
What you can do: The most important thing in treating the common cold is to act quickly! As soon as you feel the first symptoms do the following:
- Make Ginger Tea: Cut some fresh ginger into small pieces and steep in hot water for a few minutes. Add some fresh lemon juice and honey and drink as hot as possible. If possible go lie down and cover yourself with heavy blankets to induce sweating.
- Call your acupuncturist to set up an appointment as soon as possible.
- Ask your acupuncturist about herbal formulas for the common cold. It is great to have these at home so you can take them as soon as symptoms develop.
Here’s to a healthy, happy, cold-free winter. :-)