Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Can Help Strengthen Your Immune System During the Flu and Cold Season

Flu and cold season is upon us and for anyone affected by them TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) can be potent techniques that have been time tested. TCM can protect us from the flu or cold and bolster immunity. Herbal formulas can be given and acupoints needled in order to restore balance of energy in the body, accelerate the healing process, and strengthen the body for people suffering from symptoms.

The flu and cold, in Chinese medicine, are believed to be caused by external pathogens that have infiltrated the body. We are able to fend off these pathogens when the energy of our body, which is called `chi or qi is strong. We come down with flu and cold symptoms like sore throat, cough, body aches, fever, chills, and headache if our qi is weak.

How can we prevent the flu and colds and keep our qi strong? We need to:

– Frequently wash our hands with clean water and soap
– Minimize our intake or totally avoid eating foods that weaken our immunity. These foods include high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, and white sugar
– Consume a healthy diet of raw vegetables and fruits
– Choose supplements, herbal formulas and foods that nourish and keep our immune system strong
– Expose your face to sunshine and go outside to breathe fresh air. Take vitamin D3 supplements during the flu and cold season.
– Avail yourself of acupuncture treatment that can help balance energy and strengthen qi

To keep your immune system strong and energy smoothly flowing, you need to make sure all your meridians (energy channels) are balanced. Immunity is connected to the metal and earth elements that manifest in the pulse as the lung and spleen meridians.

To ensure that your body digests food properly and nutrients are taken up by the body and converted into qi to keep the body strong, your acupuncturist will often stimulate the acupoints Spleen 6 and Stomach 36.

The points Triple Warmer 5 and Large Intestine 4 are often targeted during treatment to help the body push pathogens out. The Large Intestine 11 is a powerful immune acupoint. The Large Intestine 4 combined with the Lung 7 point fortifies the defense of the body against pathogens.

The body is where the metal and earth points are located. The points Bladder 20 and Bladder 13 are stimulated in order to strengthen immunity and harmonize the qi of the body.

Some herbs that can help fend of flu and cold include:

• Bu Shong Yi Tsi Tang – This is an herbal formula consisting of astralagus, ginseng, and other herbs used to strengthen qi.

• Four Gentlemen Formula – A classic and ancient Chinese herb formula to maintain the strength of qi

• Maitake and Reishi- These are medicinal mushrooms that help strengthen a weak immune system

• Astragalus – A powerful tonic to boost immune function

The treatment switches to herbal remedies that clear out the pathogen if a person comes down with the flu symptoms. These include:

• Gan Mao Ling – Utilized for severe flu or cold symptoms especially the symptoms of body aches and headaches

• Yin Qiao – A formula that has detoxifying and cooling qualities. It consists of honeysuckle and forsythia. It Yin Qiao is ideal for signs and symptoms such as a yellow tongue coat, headache, and sore throat.

For thousands of years, Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been around and have been used to successfully treat several disorders including flu and colds.

Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

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