Acupuncture for a Cold? Yes!
It’s started already. Our patients are coming in because they feel like a cold is coming on, or they already have symptoms and are miserable. And yes, of course, we use acupuncture for a cold. Last month I posted the weird picture of Bev with dots stuck to her face, illustrating the points to press or rub to help alleviate sinus pressure. This month we take it a step further with how we treat all the congestion/colds/flu now that we see you coming into the clinic as kids head back to school and become walking Petrie dishes.
Acupuncture, of course is one option. It depends on where you are with your symptoms, when you come in. If you are just starting to feel them come on, then we will use points that help to stimulate the immune system to fight it. Usually those will be points along the lung meridian. Kind of makes sense doesn’t it? Acupuncture can be used as prevention, or as treatment if the cold has progressed.
What’s really effective is our 4-way tincture to stop a cold from coming on. You have to catch it very early. You know you get that feeling in your eyes, maybe your throat or ears a little itchy. BOOM! That’s the time to take the 4-way. Initially it is a very un-tasty tonic. Over time, you grow to like it. It’s kind of like an acquired taste. (ahem!) There are herbs in the tincture that help to warm the body which in turn makes your natural immune system kick in. I love it because it works so well!
Cupping isn’t just for musculoskeletal soreness! It can be used to treat the onset of a cold. Remember last month when we mentioned how wearing a scarf helps protect the back of the neck because it is particularly susceptible to the pathogens that cause colds? The neck area is “the door” where the pathogens initially come in. As time passes it drives the sickness deeper, but it can also be opened up by cupping to drive the pathogen back out. At the very onset of a cold, cupping can actually prevent it from taking hold and wreaking havoc on your body.
In a similar manner to how cupping works on a cold, there are herbs that work to eject the unwelcome pathogens that have barged in uninvited. The herbs work to push out the cold before it takes hold, and are categorized as herbs that release the exterior. These are combined with other herbs to strengthen your immunity. However, if the pathogens take hold and you develop a cold, herbs are chosen depending on what symptoms you have. Different herbs are used for a dry cough versus a productive one, and what color your sputum is also determines what herbs are chosen. A formula will have herbs dedicated to specific symptoms (sneezing, fever, body aches, etc) along with ones to support your body’s natural healing process.
Using moxa in an application that we burn loose moxa in cans and wrap them in towels. Those bundles are then held at the stomach area and also on two points Stomach 36 on each leg. The purpose is to warm the middle jiao because when that’s nourished it strengthens the entire system.
There’s a point on the upper back, just medial to the shoulder blade on each side, that is called Vital Region Shu, and moxabustion is done there to prevent and treat many different types of illnesses, especially those involving the respiratory system. One ancient text claims “that there is no disorder it cannot treat”.
The acupuncture will often push the symptoms along, so you get worse and then get better. Usually what I see is that with the acupuncture you might only be sick for 3 days, and without the acupuncture it can drag on and on. I find this to be especially true with some of the viral strains that we are seeing these days.
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