Acupuncture and the Common Cold

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sneezing womanBack-to-school season typically means fewer outdoor activities and increased time indoors. Children return to school and are suddenly inundated with a host of new germs in crowded classrooms. Employees return from summer vacations to stale air and frequent handshakes. Regardless of the season or location, pathogens are always circulating in the air. What can you do to avoid the common cold?

Prevention:  According to WebMD, here are the top eight ways to prevent a cold:

  1. Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands
  2. Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not your hands
  3. Avoid touching your face
  4. Exercise aerobically
  5. Eat your vegetables and fruits
  6. Don’t smoke
  7. Limit alcoholic beverages
  8. Relax

While all of these represent great advice, we strongly believe that one more should be added:  Acupuncture.

People often turn to acupuncture when they are looking to relieve or address existing ailments. However, acupuncture can also serve as a preventative measure. Colds and diseases attack weakened areas of your body. If your body is strong and healthy, you’ll be better able to stay that way. Regular acupuncture treatments keep your body in balance, increase your energy levels, and strengthen your immune system.

Pay Attention:  It’s important to remember that nothing is foolproof. Maybe, despite your best efforts to keep a cold at bay, you discover a tickle in the back of your throat or a bit of scratchiness. Perhaps you’ve started sneezing. Or maybe you woke up with a stuffy nose that quickly turns into an annoying nasal drip as the day progresses. At the first sign of cold symptoms, call to schedule an acupuncture appointment.

As with many conditions, if a cold is treated via acupuncture in its early stages, you can greatly reduce its side effects and avoid costly down time. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes that there are six stages to a common cold. Depending on your symptoms, an acupuncturist will know what stage you are in and where to place the needles to effectively combat your cold. For example, if you are able to obtain acupuncture within a few hours of your initial onset of symptoms, you can often ward off the cold that same day.

Home Remedies:  Of course, not everyone can immediately go to their acupuncturist at the first sign of a cold – it might be late at night or your acupuncturist might have a fully booked schedule. While waiting to be treated, what can you do on your own?

You could follow the common approach by taking over-the-counter medicines that mask the symptoms so you can push through your day, but in the process, you will extend the duration of your cold. If you want to immediately arrest the cold and stop it in its tracks, then you we recommend a three-fold approach.

First, take specially formulated Chinese herbs. Stop by your acupuncturist’s office to obtain the liquefied version of Chinese herbs that combat the common cold. Liquid herbs are fast-acting because they can quickly assimilate into the body. Usually ingesting a few eyedroppers full of extract is all that is required.

The second step is to rest. This does not mean to modify your daily routine so that you can work from home all day; it means to crawl into bed and rest your body and mind for several hours.

The third and final step is to sweat it out. Literally. You don’t want to work up a drenching sweat, but rather a light sweat that causes the cold to stop attacking your body. An easy to follow method is to cover yourself with a sheet or lightweight blanket (don’t pile on the down comforters) and drink a cup of hot tea to raise your body temperature and help induce a mild sweat. Or you could try massaging the “Tiger’s Mouth” pressure point (the most sensitive area between your thumb and index finger) until an aching or distended sensation is felt and your whole body begins to sweat.

Conclusion:  If you live in or around Wilmington, NC, and you want to either prevent or treat a cold, contact Acupuncture Associates to help restore and maintain your body’s immune system.

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