Defense Against Cold & Flu

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Building the Immune System With Chinese Medicine

At the beginning of Fall I recommend all of my patients come into the office for a few acupuncture treatments to boost up their immune and lung systems. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy prevented many people from making regular appointments. It is not too late to schedule preventative treatments that will ensure less susceptibility to colds and flu this season. If you do get sick, you can still be treated with acupuncture and herbs before the cold advances. Symptoms such as nasal congestion, shortness of breath, wheezing, fever and body aches can all be relieved with acupuncture and herbs.

The lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, which is the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds (i.e, immune system). The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm the body. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why people tend to feel cold when they are sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei-Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds.

The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Using a netti pot with some sea salt and water helps rid the nose of excess mucus. If you suffer from a runny nose or sinus infections, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for alleviating that problem.

The lungs are represented by Metal which corresponds with the emotions of sadness and grieving. The lungs also represent releasing energy – stepping back from an experience to evaluate and sort it out, refining goals and directions. Healthy lung energy gives one the ability to let go of excessive emotional attachments to people and events. Inspiration, acknowledging self and others and refining one’s character all connect to the lungs.

Metal pathology is characterized by chronic grieving or sadness; aloofness; living in the past; extreme attachments; low self-esteem. The physical manifestations can be frequent upper respiratory infections, asthma, breast lumps and tumors.

Foods for Lung Health

What you eat also greatly affects the health of your lungs. Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm, which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm. Moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.

Acupressure For Lung Health

The area along the lower border of the collar bone can be massaged to stimulate the lungs. The lung meridian runs from the upper chest at the outer edge below the collar bone to the inner arm along the thumb side. The meridian ends at the outer edge of the thumb nail on the skin. The mid-point at the edge of the palm is particularly good for decreasing sore throat. Another point can be found in the fold of the elbow towards the thumb side that decreases heat and phlegm. Pressure can be applied in a circular motion or pressing on the area for 5-10 minutes.

To Your Health now and in the New Year!

Diagram of Lung Meridian
lung channel

Written by

Sharon McDermott

Sharon McDermott, L.Ac., owner of Healthy Healing, specializes in infertility, stress and pain relief. Ms. McDermott creates individualized acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas to address your needs. Healthy Healing is conveniently located in Westbury, Long Island in the heart of Nassau County.

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