Cold Season & Chinese Medicine

The season of sneezing is upon us! This is the time of year when coughs, aches and pains, sore throats, headaches and stuffy sinuses start to appear as the weather changes. It’s typical to get these kinds of symptoms when the weather turns cold and windy and you happen to get stuck outside without enough warm clothing on. Fortunately, there are many things that Chinese medicine can do to support the body and help remove the offending virus.

Chinese medicine views colds and flu similar to Western medicine in that it considers external pathogens (bugs) and the immune or protection system as responsible for the symptoms that we experience. But there are different explanations for it.  Most of the time the conditions that cause our immunity to drop are: stress, working too hard and not getting enough sleep, excessive fatigue, not exercising appropriately and exposure to cold and wind in winter.  Acupuncture and herbal medicine work holistically to boost the immune system by removing phlegm and dampness, wind, heat or cold and encouraging the pathogen out of system which allows the natural healing mechanisms of the body to work properly again.

An excellent way of helping remove viruses when symptoms first appear is through cupping. This is a very old medicinal technique using glass cups that have had the oxygen removed from them and are placed on the body (usually the back). The vacuum causes the skin to come slightly up into the cup this helps to draw out impurities and move the lymph and invigorate blood flow. This is particularly helpful for the lungs which are vital for our immunity. Acupuncture works in a similar way in that it aims to boost the body’s own immune system and there are certain points that also help to expel the pathogen. Chinese herbal medicine can be a very helpful treatment particularly if it is caught early enough prior to the virus taking hold.

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