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Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)
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Experiences with Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza) and Acupuncture

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Posted 10 years ago

When You Start to Sneeze Think Chinese (Medicine… that is)

I’m always amazed at what my clients believe about coughs, colds and flus. A number of my clients have called to cancel appointments saying, “I’m sick today I need to reschedule.” My answer is that when you’re sick, especially with a cough, cold or flu is the best time to see me.

The biggest secret in Western society about coughs, colds and flus is that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is usually the best solution. In the West we say “I’ve got a cold”. A cold could be a wide variety of different symptoms. A cold could have: a fever, chills, a cough, a sore throat, head, neck and back achiness, nasal congestion, an upset stomach, phlegm of varying colors or other symptoms. Each of us catches a cold our own way. But to listen to Western medicine “a cold” is a generic bundle of symptoms.

In Chinese Medicine we have a far more specific taxonomy of colds. Once your practitioner knows which type of cold you have, they can treat you for that specific cold with acupuncture and herbal formulas. Because Chinese Medicine is more specific it can address the underlying cause of what’s wrong with you and fix it quickly.

One of my clients came into my office the other day with a cold. She felt achy, she had chills and nasal congestion. I checked her tongue and her pulses, asked a few questions to find out which cold she had. I gave her an acupuncture treatment and an herbal formula with specific instructions. She needed to go home, take the formula (which could be a tea or a soup, but most often it is most convenient in pill form). I encouraged her to make a pot of porridge, eat some and go to bed. I asked her to stay in bed until her fever broke. I called to check in on her two days later and she said “Oh I’m back at work. I did exactly what you suggested. Once my fever broke I felt so much better that I was ready to go back to work.” She continued to take the formula until she felt 100% better and had no relapse.

Another client called to say that he was starting to have a sore throat. He knows that when he lets me know at the first sign of a sore throat, I’ll prescribe the right herbal formula for him. He dropped by to pick up the formula and started taking it immediately. He got plenty of rest and kept taking the formula for the next few days. He never got a fever, cough, nasal congestion or any other cold symptoms. Best of all he was able to continue to work while fighting the cold because he had a significant deadline he had to meet. Because he addressed his cold at the earliest stage, he was able to stay in action and recover quickly.

To recover quickly from a “cold”, pay attention to what’s happening in your body and get help early. The earlier you treat a cold the faster you can typically get rid of it. The longer you wait to get help the further the cold can progress, once you’ve waited and the cold has progressed it can take longer to bounce back. Of course I’ve got herbal formulas for colds that have progressed into bronchitis and worse, but ideally you don’t need to have that experience if you notice your symptoms early and immediately take action to get help.

Wishing you a cold free winter! Nina Price, L.Ac.

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