Airborne Bugs Have Nothing on Chinese Medicine

By Hannah Fries /

Airborne Bugs Have Nothing on Chinese Medicine

Most people have just accepted airborne bugs (or for our purposes, "colds") as an unavoidable part of life. However, this acceptance doesn’t have to translate into defeat when approached from the angle of Chinese Medicine.

ANOTHER WAY TO UNDERSTAND AND ADDRESS ILLNESS

From the perspective of Western medicine, acute mild upper respiratory diseases are caused by viruses. The emphasis is on the external “bug” or bad guy. The treatment strategy typically involves rest, alleviation of symptoms with things like decongestants, and “killing” the culprit (if and when severity warrants such a tactic). While Chinese Medicine also recognizes an external pernicious influence (i.e., Wind) in the manifestation of colds, it places more weight on the constitution and current state of the body in which it lands. External (climatic) “factors become a cause of disease only when the body is weak in relation to them…[but] not necessarily fundamentally weak.”

cold wind

NURTURING HEALTH BY HARMONIZING QI

In emphasizing the strength of an individual’s Qi in the potential impact of “pathogenic” exposure, prevention, or more aptly, preparation becomes the starting point when it comes to Chinese Medicine’s approach to colds. We begin by harmonizing the Qi using lifestyle medicine, also known as Yang Sheng, or the art of nourishing life. This holistic art aims to cultivate health and longevity through consistent daily practices such as meditation, qigong/movement, proper diet and sleep, emotional regulation, and living in harmony with natural rhythms and universal laws. The responsibility is placed back into the hands and hearts of the patient; reclaimed from the grip of the medical “authorities” and the inherent limits of their means.

YOU ARE UNIQUE AND SO IS YOUR QI

In both prevention and healing, there is no one-size fits all in Chinese Medicine.

Each person is treated as a distinctive embodiment of the universal Qi, which by its very nature is ever-changing. 

Rather than simply bombarding the body with any and all “immune boosting” supplements we can find, the goal is to harmonize the (immune) system by targeting any underlying imbalances. This equates to individualized medicine befitting the collective.

chinese medicine

DISPELLING AIRBORNE PATHGENS WITH CHINESE MEDICINE

In the event that illness does arise, Chinese medicine has the ability to shorten both the duration of symptoms, as well as recovery time by dispelling or “pushing out” the pathogen (often accomplished through sweating or purging), addressing the specific constellation of symptoms present, and fortifying the Qi the of body. Often the goal is to first eliminate any pathogenic excesses before tonifying any underlying deficiencies. These "colds" often present with a mild headache, aversion to wind, mild chills, a scratchy throat, and a runny nose, but the exact expression will vary depending on the internal milieu of the host in relation to the pathogen. 

Customized herbal medicine, such as DAO Labs Cold Season Solutions, is one of the most effective means of treating a cold at any stage. The exact treatment course will be dependent on the unique presentation of each individual, and might include acupuncture, herbal medicine, therapeutic nutrition, cupping, moxa, and more. 

The earlier the imbalance is addressed, the better the prognosis and the less likely it is to recur (or snowball into more chronic ailments). Yet, Chinese Medicine is invariably equipped to meet the body where it’s at, regardless of how evolved or entrenched a condition may be.

Hannah Fries is a California-based licensed acupuncturist and herbalist (L.Ac.), writer, and Integrative Body Psychotherapy allied professional. She seeks to discover & alchemize the psycho-emotional and spiritual roots of disharmony in the physical body to help her clients transform the obstacles that interfere with their innate healing capacity. Find out more about Hannah and her work on her website at https://www.friespirit.com or on Instagram @friespirit.

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