As winter drags on, with odd weather fluctuations, many of us are getting whacked by some nasty bugs out there! So, what better time for me to share some TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Gems to fight back and kick those evil Qi critters out of your body? Here you go, from me to you, may the Qi be with you! 🙂
The best way to alleviate cold symptoms:
If it is a new, quick onset cold, the sickness is in the exterior level of the body and we want to push it out, quickly, not letting it enter the deeper levels. The best way to do this is ‘the sweat out method’.
This does not mean go to the gymn and do a vigorous workout. On the contrary you want to reserve your body’s energy for fighting and kicking that bug out. What you’ll want to do is use food and drink that make you sweat, cover up with extra clothing and blankets, replenish lots of fluids to help your body flush it out, and equally as important – rest!!
The key trick here is to know whether you are dealing with a heat or cold pathogen. This is imperative. A hot bug will need to be cooled and sweat out and a cold pathogen will need to be heated and kicked out. The simplest way to do that is check for sore throat. If there is a sore throat you’re dealing with a hot bug. And if there is little or no sore throat but a lot of aches, pains and sore muscles, it is likely a cold bug.
Some DIYs (Do it Yourself)s to break the cycle of consistent suffering from colds:
Ginger is a very popular and effective addition to almost anybody’s regime. It can be added into many dishes and is especially helpful to make as the base for a home remedy tea, whether hot or cold bug.
Home Remedy Ginger Tea: Base - boil fresh ginger slices for 10 to 15 minutes in a saucepan
If you are dealing with a hot bug, and then pour over mint to steep. This combination will have a cooling and ‘pushing out’ effect. If it is a cold bug add cinnamon bark to boil with the ginger. This combination will have a warming and ‘pushing out’ effect.
If there is phlegm, add orange peels to for either of above for the last 5 minutes of boiling. The boiled orange peels help to transform and expel phlegm.
Acupressure points easily accessible for self massage:
Here are two of the most powerful points to play with, you can do a lot by just pressing, rubbing and massaging these 2 points:
Zu San Li – Stomach 36 (ST 36) on lower lateral leg tender spot about 3 finger widths down from from knee beside the tibia – great for strengthening immunity
He Gu – Large Intestine 4 (LI4) tender spot in the meat between the thumb and index finger – great for clearing any head symptoms such as headaches, sinus congestion and neck tension associated with colds.
Skin Brushing along the medial aspects of your arms and over your shoulders and neck. You can use any hair brush you have. This will help stimulate your body’s external protective Qi and help get rid of the sickness.
If you end up with flu, what's the best way to get over it quickly?
- Stay Home and Rest
- Overdress and cover up with blankets to encourage sweating.
- Keep 2 pots going on the stove:
Fresh ginger root tea, with appropriate additions (see above) *I also like lemon and honey with my ginger tea
A chicken bone broth – here’s an easy recipe my daughter happens to love 😉
Add water to the tea and the soup as you drink it, to keep the supply coming.
Mommy’s healing Chicken bone soup: Chicken bones from your local butcher 1 or 2 large onions Celery Carrots Ginger root Salt (preferably pink or sea salt with minerals still in it)
Get a large pot and place it on the stove with a bit of water and turn heat to medium. Add the raw chicken bones then onions and so on. Especially, if you are caring for yourself, conserve your Qi and cut simple large pieces. It is really the broth that you’ll be consuming anyhow, no need to spend time and energy making fancy cuts 😉
Once all of your ingredients are in top up with enough water to mostly fill the pot, turn heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for the rest of the day. Grab a mug of it and have small sips anytime enough hunger comes up throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and nourished. There is no need to try to drink more than you want to. Small regular sips is where its at. Listen to your body, it knows what it can handle. Rotate between broth and tea all day long, to ensure gentle, easing back to life! .
You can place the bone broth in the fridge overnight to use it the next day. Hopefully you’ll be feeling a bit better and can begin to add in other ingredients as your hunger and strength improve. Cinnamon bark, *Astragalus Root, Daikon, Broccoli, Mushrooms, noodles, or rice or barley are some of mine and my daughter’s favorites.
*Astragalus Root (Huang Qi) is a wonderful herb to keep in the house at all times. You can get it at any local Chinese Herb store. It looks like a tongue compressor that doctors use. It has almost no taste and can be added to any broth or stew to boost the Qi building qualities of your food. In Chinese Medicine we say that Food is our first line of medicine. This is one tip I highly recommend!
TCM treatments for cold and flu:
Once you are well enough to make it in to see your local Registered Acupuncturist these are some of the treatments we can offer you.
Cupping - to help ‘suck out the pathogen’ and also stimulate your body’s phagocyte response. Phagocytes are known as the ‘clean up cells’ in our body. My favorite phagocytes are the cute little macrophages or “pac man” cells :) Not only can this treatment feel amazing, like a backwards massage. But it is also highly effective for lifting and removing cellular debris and toxins from the tissues. A famous Chinese expression explains that “when Qi and Blood can’t move, no new Qi and Blood can be created” Cupping effectively lifts and moves Qi and Blood to help the body expel the waste and produce the new.
Gua Sha - feels lovely. It is a quick rubbing of the meridians with a blunt edged tool. To kick out an external pathogen we quickly rub along the Lung, Large Intestine, San Jiao and Gallbladder Meridians to activate the middle and external levels of our body to help ‘the kicking out’ of the unwanted guest bugs. (This will temporarily leave a bit of reddening marks on the skin.) Pricking - one of the most effective treatments for sore throat due to wind heat invasion (sore throat from a ‘cold’) is to prick and bleed Lung 11 (LU1) and/or Large Intestine 1 (LI1) Although this technique seems very odd to most of us westerners, it works like a charm. I might not offer this on a first meeting but if I know my patient well and think they might be up for it, I will offer to do it. And honestly, it is the fastest sore throat cure I’ve met. Acupuncture - special Acupuncture Points are used to strengthen the body’s response and healing mode. A combination of symptom treatment, such as clearing a head ache, resolving aches and pains, resolving digestive issues, plus strengthening the constitutional points for immune boosting. Acupuncture does not have to be painful. Quite often my patients are surprised that they actually look forward to the treatment! Moxa - the burning of a special plant (Chinese Mugwort) next to points on the body. Highly effective and one of my favorite elements of treatment. Herbs - I don’t yet prescribe herbs at this point in time, but I can recommend some very knowledgeable TCM Herbalist who can give you a herbal concoction made specifically for you and your own constitution. The beauty of TCM is that we account for individuality. This means that we could have a sample of 10 different people with ‘the same’ cold or flu and find that their TCM diagnosis and treatment may vary substantially according to each own constitution. We call this ‘differential diagnosis’. Treat not only the symptoms, but the root of the condition as well! For longer life health. It is always great to have another ‘trick up our sleeves’ and sometimes that trick is TCM herbs.
pssst…. also, did you know? ……that at *Angel Hands Wellness, Owner Shiatsu Therapist Mihael also does cupping, moxa and his own highly effective version of cold and flu cure!*
May you have a healthy and peaceful winter!
with peace and love,
Delphine Baumer R.Ac.