Seasonal Advice Autumn has fallen upon us. I hear people welcoming the cooler weather all day long. Fall is such a lovely season. I love the feel and sound of leaves crunching under my feet. As I type, I can hear and smell the rain outside. And fall means clients coming in with flu/colds. If you are feeling under the weather, yes, still come to your appointment. Many people don’t know how effective acupuncture and herbs are at resolving sickness. The sooner you treat it, the easier and quicker it is to treat. If we catch it at the very beginning, we can stop it before it starts. Remember, you need Chinese medicine, not antibiotics, for colds/flu.
The Chinese medicine belief is the fall season is governed by the lungs. The lungs control the lungs themselves and also the entire respiratory system including the nose, throat, and skin. When the summer turns to fall, it’s common for people to get colds/flu which affect their airways (runny nose, cough, sore throat) and skin (fever and chills).
One of my treatments for chasing out colds/flu is gua sha (a type of Chinese massage) with menthol white flower oil along the neck and shoulders. It feels amazing and works wonders.
Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, avoid sugar, and get an acupuncture treatment. One of the best thing is to strengthen your immune system. Check out the January newsletter for helpful tips.
If you can’t get natural medicines, and you choose to take traditional OTC medicine, it’s not a big deal. Do whatever it takes to get through your day. Be sure to take OTC medicine with food to minimize gastric bleeding and other side effects, and then take milk thistle pills for a few days afterwards to help clean up your liver.
Common remedies: First signs of symptoms - take Cold Away by Health Concerns and fresh ginger mint tea Dry cough - use licorice extract, and munch on fresh or frozen grapes through out the day Deep cough hard to expectorate - get osha extract Cough keeping you awake at night - take Schizandra Dreams by Health Concerns Nausea - drink fresh ginger tea (no mint-it can worsen nausea) Body aches - soak in epsom salt baths Headache, runny nose, or fatigue - again take Cold Away by Health Concerns
At the very first symptom, start drinking lots of ginger mint tea, which is simple and effective for combating colds/flu. I always have fresh ginger at home and mint growing outside so I’m always ready to make it if needed. If you don’t have fresh ginger and mint on hand, stock ginger and mint tea in your cupboard. Ginger and mint are warm in nature and can slightly increase your temperature, which kills off viruses and bacteria who are very sensitive to heat. This is why your body gets a fever in order to fight micro-organisms. Ginger and mint also promote sweating to help flush out toxins. Mint benefits the skin and ginger harmonizes the belly too.
Ginger mint tea can also be drank as a preventative aid. Depending on how I feel, I’ll dress the tea up a few different ways. Add honey to the tea if you have sore throat. Buy local honey if you can find it which boost your immune system. A slice of fresh lemon per cup is also delicious and adds vitamin C. A sprinkle of pink salt adds minerals. If no phlegm is present, try adding organic milk for protein and healthy omega 3s and fresh turmeric (the same amount as the ginger) to help digest the milk.
Recipe Fresh Ginger Mint Tea 1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and finely diced 1 bunch of fresh mint 6 Cups hot water
Boil ingredients together for 5 minutes then strain. Serve hot and enjoy.
Acu point GB 20 風池 wind pool feng chi Location: In a depression between the upper portion of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and the trapezius Action: resolve infections, fever/chills, stiff neck, paralysis, twitching, tremors, numbness, dizziness, vertigo. Treats all issues of the head, brain and face, throat and sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue). Helps headache, especially occipital. Reduce neck, shoulders, and upper back pain.
Massage for 30 seconds or longer, firm enough to activate but not enough to bruise.
Exercise Descending Rebellious Qi When qi goes up when it should go down, we call it rebellious qi. This causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, coughing, hiccups, acid reflux, and anxiety. To redirect our qi downward, we take both our hands, one on top of the either and place them at the base of your throat. Gently apply pressure and massage downward, across your chest and all the way to the bottom on your abdomen in a straight line. Notice if you can feel your qi and try to redirect it downwards. Repeat. Keep massaging downward for 15-20 minutes or until your symptoms subsides.
Meditation Being ill and uncomfortable is a great opportunity to be in your body. Use this opportunity to be very focused on your body. The more curiosity you have about your illness, the less it is frustrating or overwhelming. Whatever body part is in distress, focus in on that part and become as aware as possible. If it’s your cough, how bad does your throat hurt? Where exactly? What part of your throat doesn’t hurt? What type of breathing pattern eases the discomfort? What makes it worse? If this is really hard to do for you, set a timer. Give yourself 30 seconds or 5 minutes (whatever you can do) of true focus, then reward yourself with a cough drop or whatever type of relief.
The meditation we did last month can help also.
All of the products mentioned can be found on my online store for 10% off.
Happy Fall everybody. I hope everyone is thriving and smiling. I’ll see you in the office soon.
Dr. Heather Bird