Common Cold & Flu Prevention
Staying healthy this winter
The arrival of winter means we see the prevalence of the common cold and flu on the rise here at Rosanna Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre.
Most people don't realize just how effective Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is for preventing and treating the common cold and flu. TCM takes even the common cold seriously as; if left untreated, viral pathogens can lodge deeper in the body, which may manifest later as bacterial infections and further complications such as bronchitis, allergies, sinusitis, arthritis, diabetes, and depression to name a few.
Therefore early intervention is key! We are passionate about educating our patients and community about home remedies, lifestyle and exercise advice in order for us all to feel empowered enough to take health and healing into our own hands.
Below we have some simple natural remedies and lifestyle advice to help prevent getting a cold this winter.
So, what are the best ways to protect your body's Qi?
Cold weather reduces circulation, and the body requires more Qi to warm up. So, make things easier for yourself by rugging up, especially protecting the nape of the neck with a scarf to prevent an easy entry point for pathogenic cold and wind. As winter is the season of the Kidneys, it's especially useful to wear warmer layers on the legs and lower back. Try to sit in full sunlight and absorb some Vitamin D, especially in the mornings (taking care to avoid drafts). Get lots of rest and sleep, and slow down as your body is using more Qi to keep warm in the colder weather.
Try to let go of emotional stressors as much as possible, as these can easily drain your store of Qi.
Gentle Qi Gong exercise to keep your Yang and Qi flowing and pores opening and closing properly (have a look at this simple yet powerful Qi Gong exercise to help strengthen your Kidney this Winter featured below
Minimise the spread of pathogens by washing hands regularly
Eat mindfully with the Seasons. Try cooking foods longer, at lower temperatures and using less water to enhance the warming qualities of your food. Bone broths, vegetable stews and soups, oats, winter squash, butter, quinoa, walnuts, chicken, lamb, and salmon are fantastic for protecting your digestive fire.
If you begin noticing the following symptoms such as fatigue, stiff neck, increased aversion to the cold, dry/itchy throat and/or sneezing, we recommend… Having a good sweat! Prepare a bone broth with plenty of ginger, garlic, green onion, and one of our Immuni-Qi Chinese Herbal mixes. Take a hot bath and get under the covers to sweat out the pathogen. Remember to replenish with fluids. Enjoy vegetables high in Vitamin C such as bell peppers, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli.
Daily acupuncture for three days in a row is a very effective method to help release the pathogen, and combined with Chinese herbal medicine; it is very effective for boosting the system and releasing the exterior at this stage. Allowing yourself to rest & relax is very important. The body needs all the energy it can muster whilst trying to fight infection.
What to do when the full Symptoms of a Cold or Flu arrive?
Symptoms include a very sore and swollen throat, headache, productive cough and headache.
1. Avoid wheat, dairy, alcohol and sugar. Processed sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause a spike in blood sugar which can hinder the body's ability to fight off infection. Dairy makes mucus thicker and more unbearable.
2. Try drinking a soothing Chrysanthemum tea which is a great source of Vitamin C and helps relieve and soothe sore throats, redness or dry eyes and provides relief for respiratory problems.
Receive some Chinese Medicine!
Herbs, acupuncture and other hands-on treatments such as cupping & guashaare are extremely effective, enabling the clearing of wind and cold pathogens, moving the lymphatics, clearing blockages and opening the skin pores to open, facilitating the release of toxins.
How does Chinese Medicine help with fighting and preventing colds?
Massage (Tui Na), Spooning (Gua Sha), Cupping (Ba Guan), and Pinching (Ba Sha) help to clear the wind and cold pathogen, move the lymphatics and clear blockages. Acupuncture is very effective for aiding the release of the pathogen and supporting weak organs to prevent deep invasion of the pathogen.
Qi Gong & Lifestyle advice
Exercises for opening and strengthening the lungs and dietary advice on healing foods and those best to avoid depending on your presenting condition
Pungent and warming herbs will assist in dispersing the pathogen and warming the interior of the body.
Do it yourself Acupressure for Cold Symptoms.
Squeeze the fleshy area between your thumb and index finger that helps to relieve a stuffy/runny nose or painful eyes/headache. Try pressing your fingernail into the area below your thumbnail for sore throat.
For headaches, try pressing on the areas at the back of your neck below the skull bone. These are integral parts to achieving overall mental and physical health, not to mention the great effects on the circulatory system and organ function. Keep in mind that having a session with a practitioner will see that you are given the most appropriate diet, lifestyle and exercise advice to best suit your constitution and presenting symptoms.
Here is a little taster of a simple yet effective Qi Gong exercise to help strengthen your kidneys
- Stand with feet parallel, shoulder-width apart
- Bend knees and waist slightly as if about to sit on an invisible chair
- Lift top of head to elongate the spine, tuck chin and shift weight forward slightly until weight is over centre of feet
- Keep eyes half-closed and directed toward the ground ~2 feet in front of you
- Relax the whole body; only tension should be in front of the thighs and spine to hold you up. Relax the rest, and let body weight sink.
- Raise arms as if hugging a tree (keep shoulders relaxed)
- Let thoughts go, focus on breathing in and out of your 'dantian' (the area two inches below the navel) and observe any sensations you feel in the dantian area.