Achoo! Cough, sniffle. Ahhh, the sounds of the season are upon us. Winter is a wonderful time of year to take advantage of the activities and beauty of the great outdoors here in Minnesota. And now the season is on the verge of change: it’s warm, then cold; it’s sunny, then sleety. These fluctuations make us vulnerable, and our not-so-good friends like the common cold, influenza, bronchitis, and the like may come to visit. Here are some helpful tips à la Chinese medicine to keep you and your loved ones healthy all winter long.
Cover your neck: In Chinese medicine, common winter ailments start out as what we call exterior conditions, which means that they invade from outside the body. We believe that many exterior pathogens attack the body through the neck. Wearing a scarf and keeping your neck protected seals off this vulnerable area from outside invaders.
Soak your feet in hot water: Dr. Chi, one of my mentors in graduate school, advised nearly every one of his patients to do this — and I advise nearly every one of my patients to do the same. Foot soaks are a wonderful way to ease out of the stress of the day and promote better sleep. They relax and dilate the blood vessels, which returns blood to the organs and warms your feet. Soak them for 20 minutes nightly before bed for maximum benefit.
Herbal chicken soup: Our herbal soup mix is a phenomenal way to stay healthy in winter. Many of the herbs contained within are clinically proven to improve the immune system, and old-fashioned chicken soup, prepared with the bones, doesn’t just warm the soul. It’s packed full of neutrophils and other immune compounds, which respond rapidly at the first sign of bacterial and viral invasion, keeping you healthy and your belly happy.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been shown to augment the immune system not only in overall white blood cell count but in response as well, helping your body to better fight off what is attacking it. Regular acupuncture throughout cold and flu season is a great way to stay healthy when everyone around you is down for the count.
Feeling groovy already? Great! In Chinese medicine, we believe each season is endowed with its own specific energy. Winter is the season of the kidney, and the season of storage. In winter we are quiet and store our energy gained so that we can use it in spring and summer. Now is an excellent time to come in and get tuned up. Dreading seasonal allergies? We work with that too. Much of the work we do treating allergies occurs before symptoms even start, in the depth of wintertime. Acupuncture is used to quiet the body’s histamine response so that when the flowers finally do bloom again, you can go out and enjoy them.
Whether you are looking to improve your immune system, fight off something, or ease symptoms and shorten the duration of what you’ve already caught, traditional Chinese medicine offers something for you, wherever you are, health-wise. Call us or schedule online today to see how we can help you make the best this winter and the year to come!
[written by Molly]