In Chicago, the cold season is essentially eight months long. At Healing Foundations we treat a lot of colds. In Chinese medicine, the common cold falls into two distinct categories: Wind Cold and Wind Heat. The concept may seem abstract but actually its very descriptive. Like the wind in nature, symptoms of a cold arrive suddenly and change rapidly. Typically a cold starts out as a Wind Cold invasion that often evolves into a Wind Heat pattern or a complex combination of both heat and cold symptoms. The faster we can determine the "wind nature" or pathogen of your cold and appropriately treat the symptoms, the shorter the road to recovery.
There are key symptoms that help determine the type of cold you're suffering from. Here is a table of cold symptoms and their associations in Chinese Medicine:
Treatments for your Wind
Acupuncture activates your own body's healing response and is fast and effective way to release and expel the pathogen. There are several commonly used acupuncture points for cold symptoms, and once we've determined all your needs, we'll customize a treatment to get you out of the wind and back into wellness.
Acupressure can also be very helpful to reduce symptoms of the common cold, and you can treat yourself at home. Check out our YouTube video here for acupressure to open the sinuses during a cold or allergy season.
Cupping or Gua Sha are alternately used to stimulate the points on the upper back through the use of suction or scraping to open the pores and release the Wind. These techniques are helpful in breaking up a cough and congestion or relieving a sore throat.
Herbal medicine: Common formulas we may recommend for colds are Yin Qiao Wan or Gan Mao Ling. Bi Yan Pian may also be used if there are sinus issues. We recommend using Chinese herbs only under the care of a licensed professional.
Herbal Teas: A simple cup of hot tea can do wonders if you are ailing from a cold. If you are experiencing Wind Cold symptoms ginger and cinnamon teas can be a great help. For Wind Heat, try green tea, chamomile or mint tea. Chrysanthemum or honey tea can help to ease fever symptoms. To soothe a sore or dry, scratchy throat add honey to your tea or drink pear juice.
Sweating: Sweating is your body's natural response to help rid yourself of the cold virus. If you are not sweating already, try to induce sweating by drinking hot ginger tea and taking a very hot bath. Once you start to sweat, dry off, bundle up and take a nap (rest is one of the best medicines of all!).
Nothing beats prevention, of course. When the weather is changing or it's dreadfully cold (or half the office out with the flu) make sure to rest up, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthfully and wash your hands frequently. Dress appropriately! According to Chinese medicine, wind enters your body at the base of the neck and cold can travel up through your feet. Be especially mindful to keep your head, neck and feet warm.
If you begin to feel under the weather and sense a cold coming on, come don't wait for your symptoms to get worse – come in to Healing Foundations for our cold and flu treatment. We've got heated tables, hot tea and a soothing atmosphere to help chase the cold away.