How Acupuncture Can Help You TREAT a Cold
This post is part of my series on how to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Check out the others here:
You know the feeling. You wake up and your throat is scratchy, your head feels foggy and your sinuses feel like they want to explode. All signs that you’re coming down with a cold. ☹ To feel better fast if I get sick, rather than pop a pill, I turn to acupuncture to treat the common cold.
Acupuncture Kicks Out Cold-Causing Germs
The most important time to call your acupuncturist for an appointment is at the first sign of your cold symptoms. Notice some nasal congestion? A slight cough? Or are feeling chills or an aversion to cold? Get in for an acupuncture treatment right away for your best chance to kick out the invading germs.
An acupuncture treatment given at the first sign of symptoms can stimulate your immune boosting energy called wei qi. Wei Qi is our bodies first defense against invading pathogens. According to Traditional Chinese medicine, this energy circulates under the surface between our skin and muscles. Its main function is to identify and kick out invading pathogens so that we don’t get sick. (Learn more about wei qi and it’s role to prevent colds here).
Another function of wei qi is to warm our muscles. This role is impaired when we start to get sick, which is why we start to feel chilled and have an aversion to cold. If the pathogen is just entering the body, you may experience alternating chills and warmth because the body is trying desperately to kick out the germ.
If the invading germ is too strong or our wei qi is too weak, the pathogen can enter our body and we start to feel sick. Acupuncture at this early stage can give this energy the necessary boost it needs to fully defend the body and kick out the pathogen before it can multiply and you develop a full-blown cold. It can also help prevent the pathogen from going deeper in the body where your cold could turn into a more serious condition such as a sinus infection or pneumonia.
Acupuncture Treats Common Cold Symptoms
The energy boost at the initial stage of illness can also lessen the severity and duration your cold symptoms. There are several acupuncture points that can address the wide range of symptoms that you may experience with the common cold such as:
alternating chills and fever,
body aches, and
aversion to cold
Acupuncture treats the root cause of your symptoms, by boosting your immune system to clear the germs, while also relieving immediate symptoms. It doesn’t just mask or suppress your symptoms nor does it come with unwanted side effects like many over the counter cold medicines.
Acupressure to Treat a Cold
Between acupuncture appointments, one of your best self-care options for treating your illness is acupressure. Acupressure is a non-insertion technique in which a finger or thumb applies pressure on an acupuncture point on the body, stimulating the healing properties of that point.
A common point used in acupuncture treatments at the first sign of a cold is Large Intestine 4. This point stimulates your wei qi (immune boosting energy) to kick out germs as well as treat common cold symptoms related to the head such as headache and nasal congestion. It can also relieve a sore throat and lung congestion and reduce fever. Large Intestine 4 is located on the hand on the radial side of the second metacarpal bone, at the mid-point of the bone. *However, this point should not be used in pregnancy.
Once you locate the acupuncture point, simply apply pressure on that area with your finger or thumb for approximately 30 seconds. Pressure should be firm but not painful. Repeat this process on the same point on the opposite side of the body for another 30 seconds. Apply acupressure at least once a day or as many times as needed throughout the day to help alleviate symptoms.
Acupuncture is an effective, natural treatment that works with your body to treat an illness. Next time you come down with a cold, give your acupuncturist a call. We are here to help!