Have you ever tried acupuncture for a cold?

It can’t have escaped your notice that it is a particularly bad winter for colds and flu. With sniffles and sneezes everywhere it can be hard to avoid catching a cold, with more people than usual catching flu this year too.

Sore throats, coughs, aches, pains, chills, sweats,, blocked noses, painful sinuses. Sound familiar? Acupuncture could be the treatment you need to get you back on your feet again.

Wait… what? Acupuncture might not be at the top of your list of potential cold remedies, but it can be really helpful. In acupuncture we work on the Wei Qi energy that circulates just beneath the skin. This Qi energy relies upon lung function and controls the opening of pores on the skin, regulating both sweating and immunity. Wei Qi can keep our pores closed, stopping germs from getting into our system – and it can open our pores to allow us to expel infections.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dates back thousands of years. Practitioners were working to balance Qi long before Western medicine came up with the idea of germs and viruses. TCM doctors referred to these causes of disease as Pathogenic Factors, and were referred to as Wind, Cold, Heat and Damp. This theory was based on careful observation and are still applicable all these years later: if we sweat in a cold wind our pores are open and it is easy to catch a chill or cold. A cold wind on our neck can cause a stiff neck or headache, excess heat or sun can cause Heat Stroke.

Here’s how acupuncture can help with colds and flu:

  • Acupuncture promotes healing:

By boosting the body’s natural defences so that you can recover from your illness much more quickly. In fact, if you get acupuncture when you first begin to experience symptoms we will be able to stop it from becoming worse in the first place.

  • Acupuncture can help to soothe symptoms:

Whether you’re struggling with a blocked nose, a sore throat, a cough, a temperature, aches and pains, acupuncture can be great for relieving these symptoms and helping you to soldier on through.

  • Acupuncture can help to prevent illness:

If you’re one of those people who always comes down with something at this time of year, acupuncture may help. It can help to boost the immune system – so that you are better able to fight off bugs and viruses before they really get a grip on you. Research has shown that acupuncture can increase white blood cells – in TCM it is used to stimulate Qi so that the body is better able to fend off illness.

Whether you’re already suffering with a cold, you think you might be coming down with something or you just want to make sure you don’t get ill, acupuncture could be the help you need. There is also the self-care aspect of acupuncture. Rather than just popping a pill and trying to drag yourself through the day, taking an hour out to lay on a bed and have a treatment can work wonders for your mental wellbeing – and often when we’re feeling ill, our mind can make a world of difference to how our symptoms play out.

Tips for surviving the cold and flu season:

  • Drink lots of room temperature or warm fluids, but avoid caffeine which acts as a diuretic.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Our bodies recover while we’re sleeping, so if you’re under attack from germs and bugs a little extra sleep can help you to recover quicker.
  • Eat nourishing, good quality food three times a day.
  • Eat warming fresh ginger, garlic and chicken soup wherever possible. If you have a fever avoid any heating food such as chilli, caffeine and red wine that will raise your temperature further. If you have a cold avoid all cold foods including ice cream, cold drinks and raw vegetables and salads.
  • If you’re just beginning to feel a sore throat (but you’re not feeling chills), peppermint tea can help to alleviate symptoms.
  • Turmeric can act as an anti-inflammatory and so is great for helping to alleviate symptoms. We all know the old home cold remedy of hot water with honey, lemon and ginger, but adding a little turmeric can work wonders.
  • Keep your neck covered while you are outside, even if it doesn’t seem too cold – you’ll never catch an acupuncturist without a scarf.
  • Regular gentle exercise is key to keeping your Qi flowing freely and healthily!

If you’re wondering how acupuncture can help you survive the cold and flu season, why not get in touch for an informal chat. I will be happy to talk through your symptoms and how I may be able to help.