Tips on Maintaining Health During the Fall and Winter

By Emily Richmond, ABT

Learn to recognize your body’s signs of being worn down.

Before you become sick take these preventative measures:

  • Remember that receiving bodywork or acupuncture regularly boosts your body’s immune system.
  • Get plenty of sleep, at least 8 solid hours. Avoid graveyard work shifts. Be aware of the body’s natural clock.
  • Wash your hands frequently.  Avoid anti-viral hand soaps, as they also kill the good bugs that help you build your immune system.  Anti-viral soaps and the overuse of antibiotics are creating restraint strains or “super-bugs.”
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of purified water.
  • Schedule an appointment if you are feeling ill. Bodywork or acupuncture can be received at first onset, during illness and to help with recovery.
  • Do your home treatment with your own germs after exposure using techniques taught in today’s class.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather – wear a scarf to cover the upper back and neck. This area is called the “wind gate” in Chinese medicine and is susceptible to pathogens.
  • Start taking immune boosting supplements prior to cold and flu season. To avoid colds/flu, support the spleen with Astragalus (Huang Qi) and/or Jade Wind Screen Formula. These can be taken long term. To build immunity your practitioner may recommend that you take these year round if you are weak or susceptible to illness.
  • For cold and flu symptoms, here are some other vitamins/supplements to consider: Echinacea, Vitamin C, Wellness Formula Herbal Liquid Resistance, Elderberry syrup, or Elderberry lozenges or homeopathy. Ask your practitioner for dosage and what type to take when you are starting to feel ill.
  • Keep an arsenal of herbs on hand during cold and flu season, so you can start taking them at first onset of symptoms. Take note of what the first signs and symptoms are so you can select the appropriate herbs (wind heat or wind cold).  Call your practitioner if you are unsure.  Selecting the wrong Chinese formula could make symptoms worse.
  • If you tend toward sinusitis, use a Neti Pot on a regular basis, especially if you are getting sick. Ask your practitioner for more details on how to do this.
  • If you do get sick, stop taking all tonifying herbs—you want to expel the illness rather than tonify or strengthen the invading pathogen.
  • Don’t rush into taking antibiotics (try Chinese remedies suggested by a qualified practitioner first) – In the long run antibiotics cause you to be more likely to get sick again because they kill the good bacteria not just the bacteria causing the imbalance.  Some Doctors prescribe antibiotics in cases when the illness is a virus not a bacteria such as the common cold.  In such cases antibiotics are useless and will not help you recover sooner.
  • When it is necessary to take antibiotics, replenish your body’s flora with a good-quality probiotic that has multiple types of helpful bacteria—ask practitioner for details.
  • If you are experiencing a lot of mucus, don’t eat foods that make it worse such as: dairy products, cold foods, sugary foods, orange juice or any other juices, bananas and oatmeal.
  • To clear sinus congestion and to help expel pathogens try eating fresh green onions or onion soup with lots of onions.  To help clear nasal congestion you can also boil a turnip, mash it and eat it with chives and parsley.
  • In early stages of the cold and flu, eat chicken broth, beef  broth or vegetable broth, avoiding hard digesting foods. As you are getting over the illness it’s OK to add meats.

More tips for preventing the flu.  Make sure to sign up for each years flu prevention treatment in September.