You never have to wonder when the cold and flu season is around the corner. The pharmaceutical industry will be sure that you are reminded of its arrival.
With ads in store windows and magazines, its easy to feel like the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community at large are depending on you to leave the fate of your health and well being up to the workings of pharmaceutical pills and shots - because they are. The Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture world take a slightly different approach by tapping into the innate healing power that runs through your body and the living world around you, however, offering a welcome alternative to those who are interested.
In Chinese Medicine we recognize that a cold or flu will progress through specific levels and stages of illness in the body. Everyone's journey is unique, as you have probably experienced at home.
Have you ever noticed in a family of 4 or 5, for instance, that when everyone is exposed to the same germs and viruses, only one or two family members get ill while the others don’t? The issue is not the germs, but the body’s response to them, caused by an individual’s immune system.
While the symptoms and progression may be slightly unique person to person therefore, the path their immune system progress along is prescribed. Some people just jump a few steps sometimes resulting in different looking journey's, and over the past 3,000 years Chinese Medicine has made a thorough and detailed analysis of this progression. We call it "4 Levels" and "6 Stages" and we can predict based on tongue, pulse and symptoms where you are in any given cold or flu and where you are likely to go next without intervention.
Using a combination of Acupuncture and prescribed herbal interventions, colds and flu's can either be reversed or, in some cases, quickly progressed to shorten the duration of illness and speed you to a healthy recovery!
If we return to the example of the 5 person family and imagine that YOU were one of the people ill, it is likely that that this last time you got sick you were running yourself ragged, missing sleep, eating improperly, perhaps slacking on your nutrition, possibly stressed out from work, skipping your acupuncture sessions (aghast!), and neglecting your workouts. Maybe sound familiar?
This is a vicious pattern that many of us fall into, especially as the holiday season approaches, and it’s one that weakens the body and allows germs to take hold.
Your best defense against the flu, colds, or any other germ-borne illness is to bolster your internal defenses. You stand your best chance of being at your healthiest when you have an optimally functioning nervous system and immune response.
So come in for an acupuncture tune-up, keep your lifestyle habits in good order, and maintain a positive attitude. Do so, and those pesky little germs don’t stand a chance!
Plus, if they DO take hold, your trusty Acupuncturist has 3,000 years of data behind him or her to figure out what is going on and kick those germs in their collective arsehole back from whence they came, preferably never to infect another member of your household again.
Engage in natural germ warfare today! See your Acupuncturist ASAP.
Below is a recipe to bring your body to balance in autumn. These foods will strengthen your immune system as your body becomes more susceptible to illness with the changing weather.
Butternut Squash Soup
If you have a blender, blend the squash until smooth for a puree-style soup. If not, you can chop up the squash instead.
Begin by chopping up all ingredients and boiling the squash in a large pot. After the squash is mostly cooked, add the vegetables and chicken to the pot. Simmer the soup for a few minutes. When the soup is done, add spices as desired.
Butternut squash soup is not too difficult to make and contains nutrients like vitamin A to help protect your body from the upcoming flu and cold season.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg are also important herbs in the Chinese pharmacopeia for combating dampness, cold and stagnation. Adding these herbs helps the body transition to the colder damper weather in a dynamic healthy way. Try it out and see what you think. Send pictures!!
With autumn approaching and the beginning of the yin cycle, the energy of plants is moving down into their roots, helping the body become aware of the energy of the season. This season is a time for the body to begin gathering energy for the colder months to come.
The lungs and large intestine are the organs associated with fall. The lungs are responsible for the circulation of Qi (the body’s natural flow and circulation), and are also very susceptible to cold and illness. For this reason, it is important to stay healthy and warm during the season. If the Qi circulation is weakened, muscles will not be able to warm the body properly.
Vegetables of autumn like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale can help purify and protect your body against free radicals. These color-rich vegetables are packed with beta-carotene, which then turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for our immune system, especially as the cold and flu season rolls in. These vegetables can also strengthen your lungs and large intestine to fight illness.
Vegetables to cook with:
Sour/pungent foods to cook with:
Some find it hard to let go of summer, with the longer days and warm air transitioning into the crisp and shorter days of fall. Acupuncture not only helps the body physically, but mentally as well. Fall is a great time to see an acupuncturist as your body and mind adapt to the changing of the season.
Give your acupuncturist a visit to prepare for the new season ahead and to stay in good health!
“Practical Chinese Medicine” Penelope Ody
Do you ever feel like your body doesn't track well with the seasons? Like your body just doesn't like it when the weather gets too hot or too cold even though it may not have been that way when you were young?
Chinese Medicine is a medicine of the seasons and in TCM we believe that as the transition from one season to the next begins, changes start to happen externally as well as internally. The days become shorter and the air gets cooler; our bodies change to adapt as well. Here are three ways to prepare for the fall season ahead along with the beginning of the yin cycle.
1. Let go of negativity
The autumn season represents the time when the lungs and large intestine are of the utmost importance. This season is especially an important time to let of negative energy in your life.
Negativity doesn’t just affect your psychological health but your physical health as well. You can help get rid toxicity in your life by being aware of the causes and surrounding yourself with positive energy and people who make you happy.
2. Spend time outside
Because fall is focused on the lungs, spending more time outside can help strengthen this organ and increase your immune system as cold and flu season starts to emerge.
Spend time in nature away from city pollution where you can breathe clean, cool air. Autumn time is the perfect opportunity to do this and refresh and strengthen the lungs.
Acupuncture treatment can help you physically as well as mentally prepare for the change in seasons.
Some find it difficult to let go of the summer season and transition to shorter, cooler days. Acupuncture can ease this transition and make sure your body and energy are flowing properly. I always recommend that all my patients come in at least once a quarter so that I can help their bodies transition with the seasons. Please consider coming in yourself for a seasonal tune up!
The first official day of Fall is right around the corner - September 23rd to be exact - and with it we are seeing the late summer heat (slowly) give way to the cooler temperatures of Autumn. In Chinese Medicine this represents a transition from the Earth element, which governs the Spleen and Stomach channels, to the Metal element, which governs the Lungs and Large Intestine channels.
The interplay between the Spleen and Lungs in particular fuels our immune function making this a delicate seasonal transition for our health, and a critical time to strengthen immunity.
To help you make this transition as smooth as possible, here are 5 tips from a Chinese Medicine perspective that will help you bolster the Spleen and the Lungs, improve your immunity, and kick Fall colds and flus to the curb!
Top 5 Fall Health Tips
Get Acupuncture and Tune Up for Fall
I hope you’ve enjoyed these Autumn health tips and that you put some of them into practice over the next few weeks! If you want to know more, check out these dietary recommendation sheets for tonifying Yin and tonifying Qi. Eating foods on the list when you have a choice between something on the list or something off the list will help you smooth the transition to Fall as well.
If you’re ready to come in for a tune up, please book online or email Rebecca via the Contact link at the top of the page.
Until then, enjoy the beautiful Fall weather!
Summer is such a beautiful time of year here in the Pacific Northwest. All the lush greenery just comes alive under the nourishment of the sun and provides shady places for our (vampiricly pale) bodies to rest. I know travel is the norm in the summer time but man, Portland is so beautiful its hard for me to think about going anywhere.
Pacific NW musings aside, however, Summer brings with it some predictable activities and some predictable ailments. Primary among them are allergies, insomnia due to the long days or travel and injury. With a few trusty supplements, some simple health tips, and some regular Acupuncture of course, these ailments can be minor and manageable nuisances instead of Summer Fun Stoppers.
Here, therefore, are my favorite tips and supplements for for Summer health:
Health Tips for Insomnia
Insomnia can be caused by many different factors, but from an energetic perspective heat is often the primary offender. Energetic heat, which is compounded by the heat of the summer Season and sometimes called a Yang Excess, can irritate the Shen or Spirit which resides in the heart and settles at night to create sleep. Heat in the Heart is like having a stuffy hot bedroom you can’t air out - the Shen doesn’t like it and hence, sleep becomes an issue.
Simple things you can do for insomnia in the Summer time include sleeping with an eye mask or heavy curtains to block out the long summer light, drinking chamomile and mint tea in the evening, and making sure you have no screen time for at least 30 minutes before lights out.
Here are my two favorite supplements for Insomnia:
Kavinace - This amino acid and B vitamin complex is deeply calming - it can even stop panic attacks! I works in about 20 minutes and helps most people get to sleep with ease. Available in office.
Magnesium - Mg relaxes smooth muscle, calming muscle tension and lowering blood pressure. This leads to peaceful Zzzzz’s. 200 mg at night recommended, available OTC or within the "Calm" supplement in my Amazon store.
Health Tips for Summer Allergies
Summer brings with it beautiful flowers with lots of pollen which means itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing for those of us with allergies.
Simple things you can do for allergies in the Summer time include using a Netti Pot or Sinucleanse to do a salt water rinse of your nasal passages morning and night, drinking green tea which can open the sinuses and decrease inflammation and using eye drops like Refresh Tears or Systane (available OTC) to physically wash allergens out of the eye and create a barrier to decrease exposure.
Here are my two favorite supplements for Summer Allergies:
Chuan Xiong Wan - is a Chinese herbal remedy for headache and sinus pressure. I always keep some in my cupboard for allergy season when my sinuses get over pressured. Available in office or online via my Amazon store.
Quercetin: is an anti inflammatory and anti allergy compound. You can find it in many health food stores or online via my Amazon store or eLink herbal dispensary.
Health Tips for Injury
Summertime means getting out and about and doing more fun things! Hiking, biking, walking, running, you name it! But getting into exciting activities often means we get over ambitious and injure ourselves. While many things happen that you just can’t predict, that doesn’t mean that good preparation ever goes to waste.
Simple things you can do to prevent or decrease the likelihood of injury include warming up and stretching before and after exercise for at least 5-10 minutes and hydrating well with an electrolyte mix like Recharge or Coconut Water before and after exercise as well. If you sustain a new injury, start with the RICE protocol for the first three days: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and seek help from an Acupuncturist, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, or Sports Injury doctor such as an Osteopath depending on the severity of the injury.
Here are my two favorite supplements for injury and injury prevention:
Ilex 15 - This is an herbal remedy typically prescribed for colds and flus, but it is also an anti-inflammatory. This makes it a PERFECT summer supplement for an active lifestyle. It will bolster the immune system while keeping muscles, tendons and sinews supple and healthy to boot. 3 tabs 2x/day for prevention, available in office or online via my Amazon store.
Yunnan Bai Yao - This is an herbal remedy for injury available in powder, tincture and patch form. If you write on a bruise with the tincture you will literally see the letters come through as they heal first in the middle of the bruise! Available in office.
Get Acupuncture! Comment with Questions.
If you want to know more or pick up some of these supplements just give me a call or send me an email and I will be happy to help. You can also post in the comments section with questions below. Acupuncture is excellent for allergies, insomnia and injury, so don’t forget to keep that in mind if one of these pesky summer issues comes up and book in online, okay?
Until next time,
Spring is in the air - as the fragrant Daphne at my front door reminds me every day! Tomorrow, March 20th, marks the official first day of Spring 2014. Can you believe its here already? Spring is the Wood Element season in Chinese Medicine; a time for growth, change, detox, renewal and celebration of creative endeavors. For our health, Spring marks the beginning of allergy season, and the beginning of body taxing Spring cleaning projects, gardening and renewed efforts to get out and get fit as the weather warms up.
The result? A number of Spring ailments such as:
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms above or getting ready for a Spring project requiring some elbow grease, consider including Acupuncture in your health regime in the coming months both to treat and avoid common Spring ailments. Chinese Medicine is a natural medicine which is tied to the seasons - treatments in the Spring are actually different from treatments in the Fall, Winter and Summer specifically to help the body handle the environmental and energetic changes associated with the season. Acupuncture can make you healthier this Spring by:
Spring Health Tips
As the Wood Element season, Spring is also a critical time for Liver and Gallbladder health in Chinese Medicine because the Liver and Gallbladder are considered Wood element organs. That means Spring is the perfect time to detoxify the body and focus on Liver health. Also critical to Liver health? Stress and Stress management, because stress affects the energy of the Liver first and foremost.
So here are some tips to help you manage the change of seasons and support the Liver and Gallbladder this Spring:
If you’re interested in getting some help managing stress, aches, pains, allergies or just preparing the body for the change of seasons, please come in for a free consultation or appointment. You can book online anytime! Also, check out my pinterest Healthy Eating board for more detox drinks and health recipes for the season.
Yours in Health,
#SpringHealthTips #HealthTips #AcupunctureandHealth
In Chinese Medicine Winter is dominated by the Water element which governs the Kidneys and the Bladder. The transition from one season, or element, to the next is the most delicate time for your health and the time when the most care needs to be taken if you want stay well.
This last week before the official start of Winter, therefore, is an especially important time to be minding your Winter health P’s and Q’s if you want to avoid winter colds and flu’s.
Fall, the season we are leaving, is dominated by the Metal element which governs the Lungs and the Large Intestine, so we are currently leaving the Metal season and moving into the Water season. The Lungs are connected to the skin in Chinese Medicine while the Kidneys are connected to the ears. If either organ is having trouble energetically with the seasonal change, viruses that include skin rashes and ear symptoms are more likely to be present.
Its especially important, therefore, to take care of both of these energetic systems right now, and I’m happy to provide you with some acupuncture tips on staying healthy through the change of seasons!
Acupuncture Health Tips for Staying Well into Winter
Staying well through the transition of seasons is dependent upon caring for both the Metal and Water elements in the body, primarily the Lungs and Kidneys which are the Yin or “substantive” organs in the pairs listed above. A few simple tips can go a long way to helping you maintain the best health possible as Fall makes its final turn to Winter this week:
Remember that a little bit goes a long way. Try to incorporate one of two of these tips into your regime the next few weeks and give yourself a great immunity boost as the weather turns.
Happy Winter Solstice!
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.