Acupuncture for the Common Cold

The season is changing and fall is fast approaching. For those of us in South Florida, we may not feel this so much as far as the temperature goes; yet we have hit our rainy season. Here at Partners In Healing, I have seen many patients over the last couple of weeks coming in for treatment of common cold and flu symptoms. Symptoms such as fatigue, congestion, mild sore throat, cough, tension in the chest, neck and shoulders, mild fever and/or chills. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we consider these symptoms to be associated with a "Wind Invasion". Eastern medical perspectives derive much of its understanding of our body processes from nature and the 5 elements. The 5 elements being water, earth, fire, wood, and metal. A balanced internal interaction between the elements depends on a balance within our body, between the free flow of Qi (energy), proper nutrition, moderate exercise, and adequate rest. We also take into consideration the exogenous factors or external pathogens which can create imbalances within our body if we are overly exposed to them or exposed to them during times of imbalance or weakness. The external factors include Damp, Dryness, Heat, Summer Heat, Cold, and Wind. Sooooo South Florida can you guess were we stand as far as our external factors... ok I will tell you...DAMP HEAT. Many of us are driven indoors due to the weather, its either too hot outside or raining or both. Many of us have learned to tolerate the warm weather over the years or perhaps you have moved down south recently looking to evade the cold weather soon to come. Either way, take caution when going back and forth from the intense, late summer, damp heat outdoors into your lovely air conditioned sanctuaries. This is the perfect condition for a " wind invasion". Going from one extreme temperature to another opens the pores and weakens your Defensive Qi (Wei QI) allowing the external pathogen to invade the body. If your immune function is high, your chances of invasion are slim, and you will at most get goose bumps. If your immune function is weak, this may start a cascade of imbalance within your system allowing for opportunistic cold/flu germs to multiply and allowing wind to create blockages within the meridian system.

The key is prevention! It starts with a diet rich in whole food nutrition, the amount of rest and relaxation versus the amount of daily stress you encounter, and sticking to a moderate exercise routine that keeps you moving but doesn’t overly exert your energy such as brisk walks, yoga, Tai Qi. By maintaining balance in your lifestyle that promotes your health and wellness, your physical and mental state will flourish. Acupuncture, Herbal Therapies, and other allied modalities can help to facilitate that balance so that you may sustain it through healthy lifestyle. Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy are also an excellent way to boost immune function if you are already starting to feel symptoms of cold and flu. It is best to see your acupuncture physician during early onset of the cold/flu or if you notice others around you are catching colds. Acupuncture helps to regulate and boost your immune function. Research has shown that blood cell count and immune factors are elevated up to three days following an acupuncture treatment!!! This could be just the boost you need to beat that pesky bug. There are also other methods available such as TCM formulas, homeopathic remedies and other herbal supplements to aid with symptoms. Here are just a few you can find over the counter.

  • Aconitum- This remedy is useful during the first 24 hours after the onset of a cold

  • ReBoost- This compound remedy is for body aches, fatigue, and headache,

  • Oregano Oil- Taken internally can boost you immune function and fight off bad bacteria’s and virus causing germs

  • Vitamin C- a potent anti-oxidant

  • Combination of single herbs such as elderflower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint and ginger to ease symptoms while encouraging immune function

The following is an ancient Chinese home remedy to use if you feel symptoms such as congestion fever and chills, achiness, and fatigue...I like to call it, Hot Cold Soup.

Hot Cold Soup

  • 2 green onions (use the white part) sliced

  • 1 piece of ginger about an 1 1/2" , cut into slices

  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, cut into slices (fresh is best*)

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey

Add the first three ingredients to a small pot and with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add honey. Strain, if desired and drink while its warm. Afterward cover yourself in warm clothes or a blanket and rest. You may feel slight perspiration, and that is GOOD! It allows for the fever to break and symptoms to dissipate.

Now is the time for prevention! If you are interested in Acupuncture, Homeopathic, or Herbal Therapies please feel free to call our office at 954-680-5500 or email me at and we can discuss ways of improving your health naturally and effectively.

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