Suffering from a Cold, Congestion or the Flu
I will admit I do write a similar blog post every fall – one that is focused on how many people are suffering from colds, congestion or the flu when the season changes and school starts. I don’t know how universal this is but I have definitely experienced it living in Chicago and practicing acupuncture – many of my patients know it too, that when the season’s change, and specifically from summer to fall, they often catch a cold.
You may be experiencing this yourself. I have had patients in over the last few weeks complaining of a tickle in the throat, congestion, sneezing or a full on cold or stomach flu. If you suffer from hay fever or mold allergies, you know that fall is an especially itchy, sneezy and inflamed time for your body. I find that patients who are already suffering from allergies may more easily catch a cold because their immune system is stressed and thus has fewer resources to fight another immune system invader.
How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help?
- An acupuncture treatment at the start of a cold will help shorten the length and severity of the cold, often pushing the cold right out of the body that day.
- If you are farther along in the cold process, getting an acupuncture treatment will open up the sinus or lung passages by reducing congestion and strengthen the immune system. Herbs are definitely recommended at this point to naturally reduce congestion, strengthen the immune system and clear inflammation. Treatment can help with coughing, difficulty breathing with wheezing, rattles or pressure on the chest as well.
- If you have allergies, regular acupuncture treatment can reduce the severity of your reaction, especially if you are willing to take supplements or herbs and practice home care such as using the neti pot.
- Patients who are committed to their health and come in regularly experience fewer colds and definitely less severe colds or respiratory infections. Acupuncture and herbs excel at health improvement and maintenance!
I say this a lot – but of course I’ll say it again – regular treatment is also very important for stress reduction. Reducing stress is vital to improved health – daily I have patients report to me that their symptoms are worse with stress – whether that is frequency of colds, digestive problems, pain or insomnia. Stress makes all of it worse. And you guessed it! Acupuncture is an excellent stress reducer!