Having acupuncture treatment now could help keep your immunity so strong that you avoid colds and flu this winter – find out more from our acupuncturist Tiffany Black
Have you succumbed to your first cold yet or are you still eeking out that last bit of immunity stored up from the summer?
It is that time of year where we teeter on the edge of the cold and flu season wondering if we will have a good winter or will we lose the battle and be overtaken by the seemingly endless tide of colds and bugs?
Luckily, acupuncture is here to help you stay in peak health over the coming months.
How can acupuncture help?
Perhaps some of you already know that Chinese Medicine can help treat common cold and flu symptoms well – more on that coming soon. But what many people often don’t realise is that it can also help to prevent us from catching colds and flu in the first place. For example, in one trial acupuncture was proved to enhance natural killer cell activities and modulate the number and ratio of immune cell types (Kawakita K et al, 2008).
Few of us can afford to get ill; a couple of judicious preventative treatments with your acupuncturist at this time of year will be time and money well spent.
How does Chinese Medicine boost immunity?
Chinese Medicine is all about balance – if our Qi (Qi can be interpreted as energy and is pronounced as ‘chee’) is strong enough we can deflect the numerous viruses we are exposed to every day.
However, if our Qi is weakened – as it often is in the winter months through starvation of natural light, over-stress and fatigue – that balance shifts to the advantage of the pathogen.
Impact of low immunity
Our immunity is weak so our Qi simply isn’t robust enough to deflect and expel the virus or bacteria. And we all know what that can lead to: colds, coughs, sleepless nights, fatigue, chest infections, antibiotics, and lingering bugs that we don’t seem to be able to shift.
In Chinese Medicine, the Lungs and Kidneys are the organs responsible for circulating and maintaining our protective Qi (in Chinese Medicine organ functions are interpreted differently to Western Medicine) so at this time of the year we are often working to enhance the efficiency of these organs. But acupuncturists also look at our patients as individuals and this is the beauty of Chinese Medicine – we recognise that no two patients are the same. Each of us has our own underlying weaknesses. So for acupuncturists, much of our work is identifying that weakness and then setting about strengthening it in order to enhance the patient’s protective energy and safeguard them against infection.
What to expect?
Acupuncture treatments are 45-minutes and patients relax lying down while the very thin needles – only two widths of a hair – are inserted into specific points in the body (usually legs, arms and back).
Some needles stay in for up to 20 minutes whilst others are only in for a second. It is often surprising to new clients how relaxing a treatment can be.
The wonderful side-effect of acupuncture is that patients often also report an improvement in their energy and feeling more like themselves again, which with the shorter days and looming stress of Christmas can feel like an early Christmas present!
- Kawakita, K. et al (2008) ‘Do Japanese style acupuncture and moxibustion reduce symptoms of the common cold?’, eCAM,no 5, pp481-89