Hello, Dear Reader! I wanted to pen a brief blog post to highlight a few important considerations for viral infections as we move towards winter in 2022. I’d like to highlight some wisdom that ancient Chinese medicine can impart to us in order to stay as healthy as possible during these times. One of the more important cold/flu preventive measures that happens to be extremely easy is to wear a thick scarf in the cold, and especially in cold and windy weather. The Chinese have found that leaving the back of one’s neck vulnerable to cold and windy weather makes the likelihood of an infection much more probable. I can confirm that this is very likely based on the energy palpation techniques I have been practicing for the past ten plus years. You will never catch a (knowledgeable) Chinese medicine provider with their neck exposed in the cold wind. How do you think the Wu Tang Clan knew to tell people to “Protect ya neck!?”
One hugely important symptom in the initial stages of a virus that has been written about for at least 1800 years in China is an alternating sense of feeling warm/hot and chilled/cool; this is a very important sign that is often unnoticed or overlooked in the beginning when someone encounters a pathogen. Modern medicine does not make a big fuss about this symptom, but in Chinese medicine, this is a major diagnostic criterium of a possible pathogenic encounter. In the Chinese and East Asian medical diagnostic canon, this not only tells us that we may be encountering a pathogen, but also tells us which acupuncture channels are responding to a potential infection.
You don’t need to be experiencing a very noticeable sense of fever and/or shaking chills to be able to detect this – sometimes it is subtle. You might notice something where you think to yourself, “It’s 76 degrees in here and I feel slightly chilled, where I usually do not feel this way in this temperature.” If I notice this with myself, I start using preventive measures immediately. Either feeling hotter or cooler than one normally would, or both, can be a sign that the immune system is responding to an invader.
There are a few more tell-tale signs of infection; runny nose, fatigue, and slight sore throat are all possible, however I’d like to mention that with COVID-19, people can be infected even in the absence of a fever.
Also notable as a symptom of infection is unusual headaches. COVID-19 is a very inflammatory virus, and it is known to potentially cause some neurological inflammation, even though it is categorized as a respiratory virus. Please follow up with an acupuncture appointment if you have experienced a headache with any COVID-19 infection you may have had. Also, acupuncture can be useful in helping patients get rid of the cough that sometimes lingers after a COVID-19 infection.
Stay home if you are sick and wait until you are fully healed before you go back out. This is so you don’t infect other people. Not waiting until you are healed fully can also delay your recovery and drive a virus deeper into your system.
According to Chinese medicine, it’s important to note that if someone is about to experience a monthly menstrual cycle, there may be more risk of contracting a virus. This is commonly accepted in the Chinese medicine community as being a reliable assumption as a potential risk.
At the first sign of illness, I will take a hot bath AND drink a warm/hot cup of water or take custom-to-me herbs. Then, I will get under the covers while wearing two sweaters, pants, and socks, and sweat as much as I can for 1-2 hours. This works for me. Sweating to ward off an illness has been written about since at least the Han Dynasty in China. This is not medical advise, because people with certain health considerations should not attempt to sweat in this manner. However, you can feel free to schedule a telemedicine visit with me to get suggestions that are tailored directly to your situation. If you need herbs, we can arrange a pick up for you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this.
It is a good idea to keep up with regular acupuncture so that your body will be more resilient in the face of any challenge you may face. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, please visit: www.fountainbooking.com.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Kristin ten Broeck, L.Ac.