It is that time of year, when colds and flus can strike without much warning and can keep you from functioning at your best. How do you keep yourself healthy during all the stress and chaos that comes with this time of year? Here are five tips to keep your body strong and illness away.
Chinese medicine has always held that it is much easier to prevent disease than it is to cure it, and that being said, Chinese medicine has a lot to offer in the way of preventative techniques for preventing colds and flus.
One of the most basic things that you can do is to eat right and try and get regular exercise every week. If you are giving your body the proper nutrients it needs to rebuild and replenish, and you are keeping your body strong with some regular activity, your immune system will be much stronger when compared with someone who has a poor diet and leads a sedentary lifestyle. I am not saying that you need to only eat health food or live at the gym either, getting a few servings of fruits and vegetables daily, avoiding processed foods and going for walks everyday can do wonders for your energy levels, health, and immune system.
The next basic thing to do is keep your neck and shoulders covered when out in cold weather. It’s just like Mom used to say, keep the scarf on or you will catch a cold! Chinese medicine theory states that colds and flus will enter the body from the outside environment and attack the body on the surface of the skin. It just so happens that right around the area below your collar on the back of your shirt are acupuncture points for the lungs, a set of points called the wind gates, and others that spread to the whole body. These points can be susceptible to invasion or infection when they are not properly covered in cold weather. Keep that scarf tucked into your jacket when your outside and you should be fine!
The Third thing you can do is one of the most basic but often overlooked. Washing hands is paramount this time of year. People touch everything often without noticing or thinking about what they are doing. If someone is sick and they touch their face or cough into their hands, everything they touch until they washed their hands has the potential to spread that sickness to whoever touches it next. Keep some hand sanitizer handy if you are not around the sink and remember to wash your hands throughout the day!
Ok, those are the basics, the next two techniques are slightly more involved in that they require some instruction and special materials.
Number Four is daily Moxibustion on the acupuncture point known as Zu San Li or Stomach 36. This acupuncture point is found on the outside of the leg, just lateral to the crest of the shin bone, about a hands breadth below the knee joint. Zu San Li is probably the most used point in traditional Chinese medicine because it has so many benefits and uses for a variety of situations and ailments. One of my favorite things about this point is that it greatly strengthens the immune system, especially when moxibustion is applied to it. Moxibusition is the burning of the herb Artemesia Vulgaris or Mugwort on or above the skin. Moxibustion is thought to predate the use of acupuncture needles and can be used to both strengthen the body as well as to push out infection. Daily moxibustion on Zu San Li can greatly increase your immune function and keep your body fighting off whatever comes your way this season. It is very cost effective, easy, and safe once you have been instructed in how to use it.
Number Five is a little gem of herbal medicine called Yu Ping Feng San or Jade Windscreen Powder. This is a very simple formula designed to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off colds and flus before you get sick. It is a safe formula that can be taken by most people on a long or short term basis without any ill effects. It can also be used within the first few hours when you first notice that you might be getting sick to give your body the boost it needs to push out the cold or flu that is trying to get inside. As with all herbs, I recommend speaking with a qualified herbalist to make sure that the herbal medication is right for you before you begin taking it.
If you do happen to get sick despite your best efforts, consider coming in to see your acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist. Chinese medicine has a huge amount of medicines that can be used to treat colds and flus, coughs and more.
If you are interested in learning more about moxibustion, herbal medicine, acupuncture, or anything else related to Chinese medicine, or would like to schedule a treatment, please don’t hesitate to call or email .
I love talking to people about this and helping them get on a healthy path!