In the western model of medicine, a cold is transmitted from person to person through a virus or bacteria. This leaves us with the feeling that we are always “exposed” and have no means of self defense. In the Traditional Chinese Medicine model, we can do things to prevent and release disease. This is because disease can only manifest in the correct climate. Therefore, if our immune systems are healthy, we will be much less likely to get sick. This explains why some people get colds twice a season while others get colds very rarely.
The immune system is managed by the nervous system. The immune system can be impaired by what’s called Allostatic Load. Allostatis is our body’s ability to maintain balance when under stress. Thus, Allostatic Load is our bodies immune response to stress. When our body ‘fights’ off’ an illness, it creates an acute stress situation. Acute stress actually helps the immune system handle a pathogen by causing immune cells to move out of the bloodstream and into tissues where they are needed. Acute stress actually strengthens our immune system. It is chronic stress that impairs our immune system. Chronic stress comes from overwork, lack of sleep/exercise, poor diet, etc. Acupuncture actually causes acute stress by creating tiny sterile wounds all along the body’s surface. As mentioned, acute stress helps the immune system handle a pathogen by causing immune cells to move out of the bloodstream and into tissues where they are needed. Acupuncture also “resets” the Allostatic Load. After acupuncture, the body is relieved from acute & chronic stress and regains its ability to recognize and respond to pathogens.
Tips to prevent the common cold:
- Take a multivitamin daily
- During the winter months, take an extra supplement of Vitamin C and Zinc before bedtime.
- Drink one 8 oz. glass of water every hour
- Exercise regularly; sweating is an important part of strengthening the immune system. You can also take hot showers to induce sweating.
- Acupuncture, chiropractic, lymphatic drainage, and craniosacral therapies are just some of many therapies that strengthen the immune system.
Tips to release the common cold quickly:
- Take the day off. It is better to do this early on instead of having to take more days off later because the cold has moved into the respiratory system.
- Take 1000 mg of Vitamin C on the hour & add a Zinc supplement.
- Take a hot shower, drink hot mint tea with lemon, get into bed and prepare to sweat. Sweating can “release the pathogen”.
- Be sure NOT to eat anything with vinegar in it. This closes the pores and “traps the thief in the house.”
- Eat chicken noodle soup. This hydrates the body as well as expels mucus. Add nori seaweed which detoxifies and benefits the lymph system.
- Eat foods high in beta carotene; carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, garlic, & tomatoes. These foods boost the immune system and keep your mucus membranes and upper respiratory system healthy.
- Avoid dairy. This promotes the production of mucus and stops lymphatic drainage.
- Add lemon to your water. This fruit has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and mucus resolving properties.
- Gargle with Celtic Sea Salt (as well as adding it to your diet). Sea salt kills bacteria and also balances the minerals in the body.
- Take a bath with essential oils added. A few drops of Peppermint, Lemon, and/or Pine oil can help relieve sinus congestion.
Nonetheless, sometimes we simply cannot avoid getting sick. Many times getting sick forces us to get the rest our minds and bodies have been craving. If you do get sick, rather than spending the whole day in front of the television, take some time for meditation. While you are resting you can simply repeat in your mind “I am on my way to getting well. My body knows exactly how to heal. I release anything that no longer serves me.”
Many blessings this Holiday Season! May you and your family be healthy, happy, & prosperous!
Monica Mae Klemmer, Dipl. Ac.