Updated: Nov 29, 2018
Many patients often ask how to stay healthy during cold season.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that the foundation of the immune system is tied to the Spleen and Stomach channels. The Spleen channel is considered to be a “second mother” as it is in charge of transformation and transportation of nutrients. Furthermore, it dictates microcirculation, ensuring the nutrients are delivered to all the cells throughout the body. As part of its role of being a mother, the Spleen channel oversees digestion in general and thus is in command of the Stomach, Gallbladder, Lung, Small and Large Intestine channels. If the Spleen channel is functioning properly with adequate Qi and blood flow throughout the body, then the rest of the channels and in turn the body will remain healthy and resilient to disease. Therefore, to cultivate Spleen Qi, strengthen Lung energy, nourish heart blood, regulate the Small and Large Intestines microsystem function is the key to maintain a strong immune system and staying healthy.
Tips to stay healthy
1. Practice deep breathing- proper Qi or oxygen flow must reach all of the cells in our body to maintain optimal functioning of all of our vital organs and systems. When you inhale, imagine healing energy filling your lungs and as you slowly exhale, imagine releasing the body’s toxins. This exercise strengthens the Lung Qi.
2. Drink “Yin-Yang” water first time in the morning to wake up the Large Intestine channel. Half cup hot water mixed with half cup room temperature water and a pinch of salt.
3. Eat seasonal foods.
Grapes nourish Qi and blood, open channels, and eliminate water. They are good for people who suffer from anemia, hypotension, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. For those with a weak stomach, it is not advised to eat more than 10.
Apples are good for constipation when eaten on an empty stomach. After meals, they aid in digestion.
Pears have a cooling nature and can release summer heat. They relieve cough and resolve phlegm as well as prevent dryness by nourish yin (fluids).
Pomegranates are high in fructose and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are sweet and warm the middle burner (digestive function of the abdomen).
Fresh Chinese dates (jujube) are rich in vitamins, especially vitamin E, which can convert excess cholesterol into bile acid. In addition, jujube dates supplement the vital energy, nourish blood, and calm nerves. Do not eat more than 5-7 pieces per day.
Tangerines are high in vitamin C and help fight colds. Do not overeat cold or cooling fruits or foods as they will damage the Spleen and Stomach channels. Conversely, eating too much warming foods can fire to rise up such as reflux, bloating or abdominal distention.
Daikon radishes are rich in vitamin C and are considered neutral in temperature, as in they do not have a warming or cooling effect on the body. Eaten raw, they are good for constipation, can resolve phlegm and stop cough. Cooked, they can harmonize the middle burner.
Quick recipe: Boil 4 cups of water with ½ lb. of daikon radish and 2 slices of ginger for 10-15 mins.
4. Go to sleep early. It is important to be in bed by 11 pm so that your body has a chance to detoxify.
5. Acupressure on these points: Lung 5, 7, Stomach 25, 36, 37.
6. Shaui Shou Gong: practice 10 minutes daily after dinner to aid digestion.
7. Medicine cabinet essentials:
· Gan Mao Ling aka “The cold killer.” This Chinese herbal formula is best taken at the first signs of a cold- feeling run down, sore throat, body ache, chills/fever, and headache.
· BMG pills are best for a runny nose or sinus congestion. Can also work for the first signs of a cold and headache.
8. Let go of stale emotions. Just as in nature trees lose their leaves in Fall, so must we release old traumas, resentment, anger, grief, and fear at this time of year.
9. Meditate at least five minutes daily. Cultivate mindfulness and being present within your body. Listen to your body. It is eternally wise and will tell you what you need. Unfortunately, we are often too busy to listen!
10. Get regular acupuncture! Acupuncture actually boosts the immune system by increasing white blood cell counts, gamma globulin and overall antibody levels.