Traditional Chinese medicine can help you and your family stay well all season long.
As the winter months approach, we’re all preparing to navigate seasonal colds, flu, and Covid. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed with how to stay well, Chinese medicine can offer insight to help you strengthen your immune system and prepare for whatever the season may bring.
Chinese Medicine Approach to Treating Seasonal Illness
Many of us deal with colds and flu during the fall and winter months. With a Chinese medicine approach, we start by determining whether symptoms are “hot” or “cold.”
Cold symptoms include sneezing, nasal drippage, coughing, aches, chills, and white mucus.
Hot symptoms include sore throat, fever, headaches, and yellow mucus.
We look at the symptoms, combination of symptoms, and severity to identify the nature of your sickness and determine the steps needed to treat your cold and flu and any underlying conditions.
Treating Cold and Flus
Over-the-counter medications may reduce your symptoms and discomfort, but in order to heal from the root, Chinese medicine uses acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and herbal medicine to bolster your body’s immune system and fight infection.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we believe that our immune system is governed by a specific type of energy called Wei Qi, or ‘protective’ qi. Wei Qi circulates just beneath the skin. It is controlled by the Lungs and works to protect the body from pathogenic influences and exterior attacks, including viral infections.
If the Lungs aren’t functioning optimally, Wei Qi is weakened, and you become more susceptible to sickness.
When we work to strengthen the Lungs, we help prepare the body for whatever sickness the seasons may bring.
A Preventative Approach
A Chinese medicine approach to wellness believes prevention is key to keeping your body healthy and in balance.
When it comes to prevention, The CDC’s guidelines are always worth remembering.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Make sure to support overall health by eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress levels.
Acupuncture is one of the primary modalities we use to prevent sickness and disease and keep the body in balance.
Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to regulate and maintain the flow of Qi within the body. This helps to clear blockages and encourage the body’s natural ability to heal.
Regular acupuncture treatments can help strengthen Wei Qi and boost the immune system so you can protect your body from illness and recover more quickly when sickness strikes.
Studies have shown acupuncture can affect your cellular and humoral immunity, meaning it can trigger the secretion of antibodies to fight antigens and cytokines, which attack pathogens.
One of the most common ways to strengthen Wei Qi between your acupuncture appointments is through acupressure.
Acupressure, like acupuncture, sends signals to the nervous system. However, instead of using needles, acupressure uses your fingertips. Acupressure uses the same points as acupuncture to help correct functional imbalances and restore the flow of qi.
Acupressure points to focus on for strengthening Wei qi
Large Intestine 4 (LI-4)
Located between the thumb and index finger. This is the main point to release and treat “wind” conditions, like cold or flu symptoms, runny nose, fever, congestion, headache, sore throat, etc. It helps to boost the body’s defenses, encourage the flow of qi, and relieve pain.
Stomach 36 (ST-36)
Located on the shin, about a hand length below the kneecap. This is one of the most powerful points for boosting immunity. It helps nourish the whole body, strengthens immunity, and helps combat fatigue.
Large Intestine 11 (LI-11)
Located at the end of the crease on the outer side of your bent elbow. This is one of the strongest points in the body for clearing heat. It helps to reduce fevers, increase circulation, clear pathogens, and strengthen immunity.
Work with Dana DePaul Ellis
Dana DePaul Ellis, MSTOM, L.Ac, is a licensed, board-certified acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine specializing in women’s health and chronic pain.
Dana supports patients on their paths to optimal health and wellness through personalized, holistic care. Schedule an appointment today if you’re ready to work with a practitioner who listens, takes you seriously, and develops integrative wellness plans designed to help rebalance your mind and body.
The path to feeling better starts here.