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Warding Off Winter's Chill: TCM to Conquer the Winter Cold

Warding Off Winter’s Chill: TCM to Conquer the Winter Cold

by Sophia Kieri L.Ac.

Winter has arrived, bringing with it the need for thick coats, cozy socks, and heavy scarves.

As the temperature drops, it becomes crucial to safeguard our “wind gates” to ward off the notorious winter cold. While there may not be a definitive cure for the common cold, traditional Chinese medicine offers effective methods to alleviate symptoms and reduce the duration of illness, including acupuncture, cupping, and herbal remedies.

In the realm of Chinese Medicine, practitioners view wind and cold as invasive pathogens that can make us susceptible to illness.

These elements enter the body through points in the upper back and neck. Points like “Wind Gate” (BL12), “Wind Pool” (GB20), and “Palace of Wind” (DU16) play a vital role in treating symptoms such as cold shivering, headache, neck stiffness, fever, cough, nasal congestion, and sneezing—common signs of a cold.

During an acute visit, the acupuncture process mirrors a regular session.

Practitioners inquire about your specific symptoms, examine your tongue and pulse, and formulate a treatment plan. Cupping or gua sha is often employed on the upper back to “draw out” the cold pathogen from the upper back and neck region. Strategic needle placement throughout the body helps expel the pathogen while fortifying the body’s defensive qi. A relaxing “acu-nap” follows, and improvement in symptoms is typically noticeable within 24-48 hours post-treatment.

In addition to acupuncture and cupping, herbal formulas play a significant role in expediting the healing process.

Well-known herbs like licorice root, ginger, mint, and chamomile are frequently recommended to alleviate cold and flu-like symptoms. These formulas are generally taken for a week or less and come in a pill or powder form.

Warm soups, clear fluids, and ample rest are also advised to support the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

One of my favorite go-to meals is a simple chicken soup or congee, with lots of ginger, garlic, and fresh scallions. Congee is a rice porridge, made with 1 part grain and 5 (or 6) parts water (or stock); it can be made in an instant pot or crock pot to make the process even easier.

The ginger, garlic, and scallions have a host of health benefits, and they taste delicious! Feel free to add your favorite veggies for a heartier dish. Or you can DoorDash chicken pho from your favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

So, the next time you sense the onset of a cold, consider scheduling an appointment with us.

Our acupuncture and herbal remedies are designed to nip that “evil cold” in the bud, allowing you to embrace winter without succumbing to its chills.

Stay warm, stay well!

Many Lives Chinese Medicine
Acupuncturist Redwood City
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