A Two-Step Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach for When You're Sick

by Dr. Eric Karchmer, PhD, MD (China), LAc |

A Two-Step Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach for When You're Sick

Bounce Back and Breathe Clear are two wonderful herbal formulas that are indispensable after you get sick. One unique feature of these formulas is that they were also designed to be used together. When taken in combination, these formulas provide a unique two-step approach that can help your body recover from most of your winter season ailments.

Let Chinese Medicine Guide the Way Back to Health

The secret to this two-step approach is that it is grounded in the fundamental principles of Chinese herbal medicine that focus on clinical presentation.  From the perspective of modern medicine, our cold season needs are caused by over 200 viruses, ranging from the common yearly bugs to those that are more rare. This diversity of causes would seem to make support impossible. 

But Chinese herbal medicine focuses on the presentation and from this perspective there is a great deal of commonality in these ailments. The most important distinction for doctors of Chinese herbal medicine is not the cause of your illness but where in the body it is located. This determination is not made in a laboratory but simply by examining the patient and correctly understanding the presentation (a Chinese medicine concept). 

External Presentations, Wind and More

For doctors of Chinese herbal medicine, there are two very important “locations” to consider. First, cold season needs are understood as attacks by external factors, most importantly “wind”, but also other climatic factors such as “cold.” These attacks start in the “exterior” of the body, which means the need is primarily on the surface of the body and hasn’t moved deeper into the internal organs.

How can you tell if an ailment is in the “exterior?” The presentation tells us: fever, chills, body aches, headaches, congested sinuses – these are all signs that one’s need is primarily on the surface of the body and has not moved deeper.

Second, an illness in the “exterior” can move to the “interior.” According to Chinese herbal medicine theory, the “interior” of the body is a complex landscape but for the purposes of cold season needs, there is one major consideration. Most conditions will migrate along the airways into the “Lungs.” How do we know that this shift has taken place? Again, the presentation tells us: a cough, possibly with some slight wheezing, tells us that the Lungs, whose primarily function in Chinese medicine is to move the breath, have been impaired.

Bringing the Principles Together 

Bounce Back and Breathe Clear

This basic understanding of this trajectory in Chinese medicine has guided our design of our new Cold Season Solutions formulas: Bounce Back is our recommendation for a cold season need in the “exterior.” Breathe Clear is a wonderful herbal blend for when the need is in the “Lungs,” as understood in Chinese medicine. And the two formulas together are a great combination, when an bug is on the move, transitioning from exterior to interior.

Here's how you would use the formulas together:

Step One: From a Chinese medicine perspective, a cold season need usually begins on the “exterior” or the surface of the body as what we might typically call a “head cold,” presenting with fever, chills, head and body aches, nasal congestion, and a scratchy throat. At this stage, we recommend you use Bounce Back alone to mobilize your body’s natural response and accelerate your path to rejuvenation. 

Step Two: If your condition moves “inward” from a Chinese medicine perspective, it typically lodges in the airways or what is broadly known as the Lungs in Chinese medicine. It will become what one might recognize as a “chest cold,” with phlegm, an irritated throat, and a cough. At this stage, we recommend that you add Breathe Clear to your regimen (a convenient way to take both formulas together is to take 1 tablet of each formula (2 total), 3 - 4 times per day, for a total of 6 - 8 tablets per day).

Final wrap-up: In some situations, the “head cold” complaints will resolve first and only a cough will remain. This is a great time to continue using Breathe Clear alone to fully revitalize and rebalance.


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Care Consideration: Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations  from a healthcare provider.  This information is not intended to treat, mitigate or cure any disease.  That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options.  If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us on hello@mydaolabs.com

Dr. Eric Karchmer is a practicing Chinese medical doctor, medical anthropologist, and co-founder and Chief Doctor of Chinese Medicine for DAO Labs. From 1995-2000, Eric studied at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and today is both a licensed acupuncturist and professor at Appalachian State University. Eric can be reached at drkarchmer@mydaolabs.com.

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