Most of us suffer from the common cold at some time or another. However not many people are aware of how effective TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine – Acupuncture and Chinese herbs) can be to treat this common and annoying complaint.
In conventional medicine a cold or upper respiratory tract infection is due to either a virus or bacteria.
Acupuncture Studio: Changes In Energy
In Chinese medicine these diseases are described and explained in a different way. The causes of diseases such as the common cold are not described as organisms, but as changes in the bodies’ energetic balance. The ‘virus‘ is described as a pathogen. These pathogens are climatic influences –wind, cold, heat, damp or dryness. External Wind is the carrier that enables access to the body by other pathogens. For example you are more susceptible to an external attack (getting a cold) when there are sudden weather changes or going from an air-conditioned building to the differing air outside.
The view of Chinese medicine is that when a pathogenic influence such as wind or cold enters the body, the defensive energy tries to prevent further entry and closes the pores. There is then a struggle between the energy of the pathogenic influence and the energy of the person. The stronger the persons energy, the greater the symptoms will be, i.e. fever & chills, stiff neck, headache, aversion to a cold temperature, dry sore throat, nasal discharge, sneezing and congestion.
If a person’s constitution is strong and they have strong ‘vital’ energy (Qi), then often these battles produce marked symptoms such as strong fever or chills. However the battle will generally be short-lived as the body drives out the pathogen rapidly. What we are seeing more and more now-a-days is a weakening of people’s constitutional vital energy. The often fast pace and high stress of our Western lifestyle is a contributing factor in this. The initial symptoms are milder since the defence mounted is less vigorous. However, the danger of the pathogen penetrating more deeply is greater. This is often expressed as the “cold that never really went away” and many people experience a common cold leading to a more serious ailment such as sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia or post infection syndromes.
A very strong pathogen can enter regardless of the strength of body’s defensive wei-qi, and is seen in epidemics of influenza where people of all constitutions can fall ill. For example the swine flu epidemic.
Acupuncture (Auckland) Studio: Treatments
Treatments are used to remove these pathogenic ‘temporary guests ‘from the body. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs expel the pathogen. When a patient with an obvious underlying deficiency, such as the elderly catch a cold, then the treatment would not only expel the pathogen but also be given to tonify and build up the body’s immune system. This combined treatment would also be given if a patient was depleted, run down or did not rest during treatment to aid recuperation.
Simple measures which are basic common sense help to prevent colds, for example a scarf to cover the vulnerable neck area is particularly useful.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can lessen the severity and length of time you suffer from a cold. The key to successful treatment is timing—the earlier the intervention the faster the resolution. If treated in the first 24hrs, resolution is more likely to be quick. If you ignore the body’s signals and ‘soldier on’ through illness, the pathogen will progress further into the body and be more difficult to resolve.
You can even prevent a cold altogether by boosting your immunity and maintaining a harmonious lifestyle.
Chinese medicine is all about balance and moderation in order to maintain good health. There may be some lifestyle changes that you will be recommended to make in addition to receiving TCM treatment. Having a healthy diet, enough sleep, moderate exercise and some form of stress management will go a long way in contributing to staying healthy. Whilst this is not always easy in our busy modern lives, small changes can make a huge difference.
For more information and advice on how we can help you call Acupuncture Studio on Auckland 09 815 1551 or click below to book an appointment with us.