Cold & Flu
More than 100 viruses can cause the common cold and flu. Symptoms often include runny nose, sore throat, cough, watery eyes, sneezing and/or congestion. Since the beginning of humankind, influenza (the flu) has had devastating effects on the human population. Sometimes entire civilizations have been wiped out by its fatal assaults. Through medical advances, the flu has become much more controlled, yet more than 20,000 Americans die as a result of infection every year. China has a long history of battling viral attacks in the many differing climates that make up her vast territory. Traditional Chinese medicine, consisting of modalities like acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapy, has been responsible for helping the people around the globe prevent and recover from cold and flu viruses. People who take advantage of these treatment modalities often find they get sick far less often, or if they do have a cold or flu, their symptoms are not as severe.
How We Successfully Treat Cold & Flu
The upper respiratory tract (the nose and throat) are vulnerable to cold and flu. Both of these conditions are primarily viral and they often occur during cool, dry weather. Cold and flu pathogens thrive in colder temperatures and are able to linger in dry air for a longer period because when moisture attaches to the microbes it brings them down to the ground. Further, colder weather results in more people staying indoors, making the spread of colds and flus more prevalent.
Colds and flus can weaken a person’s immune system and give rise to secondary infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia. If the afflicted person has low immune function, the flu in particular can be life threatening. Weak or low immunity can occur in the elderly, and to those with weakened immunity who are battling chronic disorders such as heart disease, lung disorders, kidney problems, or diabetes.
There are no vaccines for cold viruses, but there are vaccines for influenza. A flu vaccination can be effective in preventing a targeted strain of flu, especially if accessed before the flu season is in full swing. These vaccines are in high demand in October and November, which sometimes leads to a shortage in supply. Some people report adverse reactions to the vaccine, and some vaccinated individuals may still contract a strain of flu that was not targeted by the vaccine. Whether the vaccine is difficult to obtain, or if you’ve already been vaccinated, it’s still in your best interest to utilize preventative Chinese medical treatment.
Similar to the conventional Western point of view, Chinese Medicine views cold and flu viruses as external pathogens that come about during seasonal changes. These pathogens are most active in the transition from hot to cold seasons, often from summer to autumn, and autumn to winter. At Tao of Wellness we help prepare our patients and their families for the cold and flu season by encouraging healthy hygiene practices, making positive lifestyle changes and using Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional therapy that boost immune activity in addition to acupuncture and other modalities.
Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming Cold & Flu
Acupuncture has been shown in studies to stimulate increased production of natural killer (NK) cells which are special white blood cells that inhibit viruses. In addition it helps the mind and body relax through the release of neurochemicals like endorphins. In this relaxed state, our immune system’s ability to control infection and inflammation is optimized. When inflammation is controlled, the ability to breathe is gradually restored and mucus production is reduced. As a result, oxygen intake improves. This is important because the transport of oxygen through the lungs, heart, and blood is essential for cellular function, which is crucial for a robust immune system. Acupuncture can prevent or treat infection, and shorten recovery time from illness. Learn more about acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
The best medicine is preventive medicine. As the old Chinese proverb says, “Dig the well before you are thirsty.” Chinese herbal medicine is one of the best ways to strengthen the immune system. The herbal dispensary at Tao of Wellness contains hundreds of herbs, selected and formulated specifically to address your symptoms and to support your quick recovery. Chinese herbs such as astragalus and reishi mushrooms are used to strengthen the immune function. Isatis root and leaves are often used for their anti-viral properties. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.
Our licensed practitioners also certified in clinical nutrition can guide you in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. These include dark, leafy vegetables, berries, soup, ginger, garlic, and green onion. Foods containing beta-carotene, such as carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, garlic, and tomatoes are known to strengthen the immune system and keep mucus membranes of the nose and throat more resilient to infection. Every patient receives nutritional counseling from our doctors but our Nutritional Consultations go a step further to comprehensively include an entirely custom menu of meals and snacks.
Many proprietary formulations of supplements are used at Tao of Wellness to boost immune function and stave off cold and flu symptoms. We have an immune-boosting blend consisting of medicinal mushrooms and astragalus to help support healthy immunity. We also recommend the use of zinc, vitamin C and honey for sore throats and laryngitis. Learn more about Nutritional Therapy.
Mind Body Exercise
Any meditative breathing exercise can relax the mind and help improve your mood, which are both helpful in reducing stress and strengthening the immune system. Specific movement and breathing techniques like those found in tai chi and qigong can be taught to both prevent sickness and restore the organ systems of the body that are weak, including the often-affected immune system, respiratory system and digestive system. Learn more about tai chi and qi gong.
A Healthy Lifestyle to Optimize the Immune System
Many colds and flus are preventable and a healthy lifestyle is essential to enhance immune function. Due to overtaxed lives, many people stay sick and weak for up to several weeks at a time. As the seasons change and as the end of the year approaches, days become shorter and nights become longer. Sleeping earlier and rising later allows one to synchronize with the sun, helping the body get the restorative rest it needs to stave off illness and fully prepare for the coming warmer seasons when more activity is the norm.
Good personal hygiene is paramount to keeping pathogens out of the body. Remember to wash hands before meals and after contacting people who might be ill. Other good habits which protect the immune system include getting enough rest, wearing appropriate clothing for the environment, drinking enough fluids, keeping life stress in check, and exercising regularly.
Embarking on a health regimen at Tao of Wellness, complete with preventative acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapy, before the fall and winter approach will help reduce the risk of contracting colds and flus. Equally important is promptly addressing overlapping problems like chronic pain, sinus allergies, or other infections to reduce your vulnerability to infection. But if you start to feel tired or at the first signs of a cold or flu like body ache, sore throat, chills, sneezing, headache, sinus congestion, chest tightness, or cough, be sure to see your acupuncturist right away for prompt treatment. Regular treatments rendered at the beginning of the sickness can reduce the severity or eliminate the illness much quicker.
Cold & Flu Patient Success Stories
The Next Morning, Not One Drip
“I had the worst cold. My ears wouldn’t pop. I couldn’t breathe. I was starting to cough. I went to see Dr. Dao and he put needles near my ears and sinuses and at the base of my throat, head, etc. By the time I went to pay, my left ear popped and I let out an audible gasp! I was shocked… that worked?! Then I went to work and proceeded to go through an entire box of Kleenex. I almost felt worse. The next morning… not one drip. My ears were popping again and I just had mild stuffiness.”
— Carrie C.
A Rare Cold is Quickly Reversed
Rochelle is 69 years old and came into our office having suffered a cold for several days. At her age, she didn’t get colds very often. We were certain to treat her right away to ensure her system remained strong. She was suffering from sinus congestion, cough, and runny nose, and she was concerned about having to take a couple of days off her exercise routine. Rochelle was given acupuncture treatment and was given our tonic oil, made of wintergreen, camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus, to add to boiling water to breathe in the steam so the sinuses would open and drain. Rochelle was provided with an herbal nasal spray that included magnolia flower, xanthium fruit, and angelica root. She was also given a customized herbal formula that included herbs to support the immune system and reduce inflammation and mucus production. Finally she was advised to avoid sugar, dairy, and white flour until the cold abated. Rochelle had been coming to us for many years for a variety of health issues, so treating a cold in this way was a special experience for her. She reported relief of symptoms within a couple of days after her treatment.
Quickly Back to Work
Paloma is 39 years old, and for 2 days, had onset of chest congestion, a sinus headache, runny nose, and cough with thick, yellow mucus. She has a very demanding job, so it was important for her to get better as quickly as possible. Once we determined that Paloma was suffering from a cold virus she was treated with acupuncture and was given a custom herbal formula designed to expel the cold virus, reduce inflammation of mucus membranes, and resolve phlegm accumulation in the upper respiratory tract. She was happy to report that the cold was resolved within days of the treatment.
Natural Healthcare for Cold & Flu
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address colds and flus. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.