Getting the better of coughs and colds

A Traditional Chinese Medicine approach

Well, Autumn seems to have passed us by this year. But winter is only a few days away, and all indications are it will be a cold one. With the onset of winter, comes the cold and flu season. Colds and flu are conditions that Western medicine has traditionally struggled to treat. Many cough and cold remedies – such as decongestants – treat only the symptoms, and by supressing the symptoms actually prolong the duration of the illness. Any doctor will say, plenty of fluids, paracetamol and rest. But we all lead busy lives, so how can we recover from a cold or flu and get back to business as quickly as possible? Luckily, Traditional Chinese Medicine has some ideas!

Traditional Chinese Medicine works on the principle that pathogens – like cold and flu viruses – are allowed into the body due to an underlying weakness in the constitution. This weakness can be brought on by many factors including stress and overwork, lack of sleep or poor diet. Since every patient’s constitution is different, viruses will affect each person differently. Some may experience headaches, sore throats and dry coughs, while other may have chills, runny nose and wet coughs. TCM will therefore look at the entirety of the individual’s constitution, and the symptoms present to determine a treatment strategy.

Prevention

Some herbs are known to be used to boost immunity, TCM Practitioners will work with the individual to develop a treatment strategy that works to improve the immune system by strengthening their entire constitution. This treatment may include a wide range of herbs in a synergistic combination that will suit the individual. The aim of this treatment is to prevent the likelihood of a cold or flu taking hold by ensuring a strong immune system and overall health.

Treatment

Unlike many Western cold and flu treatments, which supress symptoms and thereby can prolong the illness, TCM treatment is designed to reduce the length of the illness by pushing the pathogen out of the body. This process also helps avoid the recurrence that we so often experience when we think we have ‘kicked’ an illness.

Since the symptoms of every individual and every illness vary, TCM will use specifically selected herb in combination, to treat the actual symptoms – whether it be headaches and fever or coughing and chills.

Acupuncture and moxibustion along the meridians of the lungs and large intestine – which perhaps surprisingly are between the thumb and forefinger – is used provide immediate relief of symptoms and help expel the pathogen.

Early treatment is essential. Typically, if treatment is sought early, 1-2 acupuncture treatments and 7 days of herbal remedies are sufficient to restore the body to homeostasis.

If you spend the winter suffering from colds and flu and would like to improve your immunity, or you can feel a cold coming on, call our Baulkham Hills Clinic on 9639 7337 to make an appointment with our expert Traditional Chinese Medicine specialist. If you are already a patient of Precision Health Spine & Sports, during June you will receive a discount of $20 off your initial consultation.

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