Every time I turn around I hear of another patient, neighbor or friend down for the count with a cold, the flu or a stomach bug. In Chinese medicine, we believe “the wind is the mother of 100 evils.” So what does this mean? One of the foundational pathogens in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is wind, particularly wind-cold or wind-heat. What does this mean to you? It means colds and flu are brought to you by the inability of your body to reject that evil wind (that is, you need to pump up your immune system).
How does someone who has studied Chinese Medicine attempt to stay healthy? Ancient Chinese secret, huh? No. Its no secret, let me share.
Why does everyone get sick around the holidays? Change in weather? Yes! Stress, losing sleep or not exercising due to over commitments? Yes. Overindulging in rich, fatty, sugary foods and drinks? Yes, yes and yes!
First step, I exercise, almost daily, even if it is just a walk on the treadmill – cause I’m not going out in that negative temp. Second is sleep. I try to go to bed early and get as much good rest as possible. Third, eating. Yes, I definitely had too much chocolate during the holidays, but I also still ate plenty of greens each day. And during these bitter cold months, make sure you steam your veggies and eat plenty of soup. You are able to digest your food easier to take in the nutrients you need. I must say bone broth is the bomb! Give it a try. And to keep that evil wind from entering, dress appropriately. Wear a scarf around your neck, keep that head warm and listen to the old wives’ tales your mother or grandmother told you about.
Next, get some acupuncture. Do you tune up your car? You need to tune up your body too. Did you know monthly acupuncture and even massage can boost your immune system? And if you already have a cold, acupuncture can help you get over your cold or flu faster. It brings the pathogens to the surface, releasing them from the body. In addition, cupping is great if you have bronchitis or a persistent cough. Just this weekend I cupped my 4 year old daughter after she developed a cough. You could immediately see the change from cloudy, congested eyes, to clear sparkling eyes. (And no, I didn’t cup her eyes, I cupped her back, silly!)
Take your herbs and supplements. What’s your Vitamin D level? If you don’t know have it tested and come back to me. I will help you with a reputable brand of Vitamin D supplements and the correct dosage. I love you Costco, but Costco is no place to buy your vitamins. You are throwing your money away on supplements that have a lot of fillers or don’t use the full part of a plant. That leads me to more of a whole food based supplementation, than that necessarily of “one a day” supplements.
Take some Chinese herbs! Did you know some herbs have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties to them? Yep, and they make teas, so if you are on the verge of feeling ill or around a ton of sick people, start drinking Chinese herbal tea. This stuff is flying off the shelves! There are herbal formulas for every stage too, from boosting the immune system, the start of a cold, and even formulas for full fledged colds. Give your immune system an extra boost by trying some mushrooms, like Reishi or Cordyceps. If you’re an elderberry lover this is another great boost at the onset of a cold. Don’t know what’s right for you? I can help. Come on in for an herbal consultation so we can get you on the right path today.
Finally, get on the bus with quality essential oils. See those great bargains from a big box store or online retailer? Probably not the best quality. If you want to use essential oils therapeutically, they must be unadulterated. Purchase your essential oils from a reputable company that does not cut them with synthetics and oils. I love me some essential oils and have for more than 20 years. One brand I favor myself is Doterra. They produce great high quality therapeutic oils. Some I like include Doterra’s On Guard. It’s great for all things gross and germy. I tend to diffuse this oil in the house when bugs are flying around. Stomach bug on the loose? Try their DigestZen. Gotta cough? Try the lemon and cypress on the bottom of your feet. The list goes on of the many great oils that can help you. But please, always use essential oils with caution if you are pregnant or if you have children. Don’t know where to start? We can help with that too. Both Lisa and I are well versed with essential oils and can help guide you.
One last thing. Wash those hands, eat healthy, get some acupuncture and massage. Win the battle over this cold and flu “season.”