New Beginnings

Here we are, in the middle of another drastic season change. The temperate fluctuations and winds can be challenging for us, mentally and physically. Mentally, because we need to adjust our schedules to the lengthening days, which is a wonderful reason! Physically, because our immune system is challenged by the wind and temperature change. One minute the sun is shining, there is no wind, and you feel hot. The next minute the sun disappears, the wind picks up and you catch a chill. That is a challenge to your immune system and if you are already fighting a virus without knowing it, you will get sick.

So beware and be proactive!

Five things you can do to support your immune system this spring:

  1. Keep your neck covered in the wind. Long hair or pulling up the collar of your jacket will do, but a scarf is best.
  2. Resist the urge to wear short sleeves until it is at least in the 60's. I know, you runners love to run in shorts and a t-shirt on a 50 degree, sunny day. Unless you have a neck gator on or something else to cover your neck, don't do it!!!
  3. Take a high quality Echinacea daily until summer. Echinacea is minimally effective unless it makes your tongue tingle when you take it. Talk to Rebecca for a good source of Echinacea.
  4. Lay off of the ice cream until the summer! Back when I was twenty, I contracted bronchitis the day after I ate ice cream one January night while living in Minnesota. Now I know why! Here is a very basis explanation according to Traditional Chinese Medical Theory: certain organs prefer warmth to stay balanced and some prefer coolness. The lungs and spleen (which makes phlegm) need to be warm. When you eat cold foods in the winter, the spleen produces more phlegm than normal and the lungs are unable to handle this excess phlegm. The result is bronchitis, or a similar lung infection.
  5. Come in for three acupuncture sessions. We'll focus on strengthening your immunity and help your body adapt to the season change.

For some people, spring can increase the incidence of migraines. This is due to the dampness of the melting snow and the wind, as I mentioned above. There are several different patterns of migraines, according to TCM. Some are more reactive to the season change than others. If you are suffering with migraines more than usual, give me a call and we can discuss some options so that you can enjoy the sunshine and warmth that is slowly coming!

Take care of yourself between acupuncture visits. In addition to eating well and resting, here are a couple things you can do to support your acupuncture treatments so you feel better longer:

Acupressure point of the season: Hegu or LI4

This is one of the most popular acupressure points. It is used for frontal headaches (pain in your forehead or in your eyes) and symptoms of catching a cold such as an achy neck or a stuffy nose. To find this point, using your thumb and index finger, squeeze the thick part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger on the opposite hand. This may feel sensitive. Apply pressure for a minute or two on each side. Breath deeply while you press. Notice if your headache has reduced afterwards.

Herb of the season: Andrographis or Chuan xin lian

Yes, I mentioned Echinacea earlier, and this IS one of the most effective herbs for strengthening your immune system. However, it is not a Chinese herb. So sticking to my roots, I choose Andrographis this season. Andrographis supports your immune system after you get sick, unlike Echinacea, which prevents you from getting sick. Some herbalists use this herb as a doctor would use an antibiotic: for a short period of time to fight a strong illness. It is important to use herbs the right way, just like medicine. In order to achieve the best results possible with herbs, consult a trained herbalist.

Enjoy spring and be well!

In health and gratitude,

Rebecca Abbott, C.Ac.

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