acupuncture, traditional chinese medicine, herbs
THE Coronavirus has taken over our news, media, and minds. We cannot get through a day without hearing or thinking about its implications. How are we to respond? What can we do? Well let’s take a slightly different view point through the lens of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Since modern times, we have come to think we are the observers of nature, but in fact we ARE nature. We are the 5 elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. There is a saying in TCM, “as above so below” or what is in the macrocosm is in the microcosm. We are not just a reflection or this Earth, we are this Earth. Most of us have gotten so far away from nature that it has created imbalances within us. The best way to prepare for this pathogen is by harmonizing our imbalances and nourishing our “Wei Qi” or the Western idea of immunity. More important than the strength of a pathogen, is the strength of our own Qi or immunity. We need to be smart about this, prepare, and plan, but not get overwhelmed with fear. That will not lead us in the direction we are wanting to end up, nor will this nourish our immune system.
So, what is the best way to prepare? There is NO better time than now to really start taking your health seriously. Every choice we make is either promoting our health and nourishing our body or putting us in more imbalance. Every day is an opportunity to make the best choices. Of course, we will not be perfect every day, as we are all human, but we will do the best we can with the resources we have at any given moment. So, let me give you some guidelines to get you started.
First, follow the rhythms of the Earth. Again, we ARE earth, so following the natural rhythms turn our bodies into self-healing beings. This means getting up with the sun (no later than 6am) and going to bed when the sun goes down (but no later than 10pm). These hours change based upon the season, so you need less sleep in the summer than you do in the winter. The most healing and detoxing happens before midnight so those early hours are the most important. Now I do realize how difficult this can be and to be completely honest I struggle with this one myself! It seems there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to get done. But what I have come to know (and I’m sure you do as well) is that we will never get it all done so we just need to prioritize. And right now, health should be your priority. If we do not have our health, all the money, vacations, material possessions, and goals mean nothing. We need our health to truly enjoy these things. So please give your best effort in getting sleep. It is not the number of hours that matter as much as the time you are going to bed and waking up. Again, following the rhythms of the Earth turn your body into a self-healing entity and is the number one “rule” in Chinese medicine!
Following the rhythms of the Earth also mean eating right! It is best to eat seasonally and at the right times. Aim to eat three meals per day with no snacking in between. This will balance insulin and blood sugar and give your digestive system a much-needed break in between eating food. The digestive tract, which includes the TCM organ Spleen, is at the root of Wei Qi or the Western idea of immunity. We need to eat nourishing, easy to digest foods that are warm and cooked to nourish our Spleen Qi. This means no raw or cold foods. No ice water, no cold smoothies, no ice cream! Soups, stews, sautéed vegetables, and warming aromatic spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and so forth should be incorporated into your diet every day! Fermented foods, probiotics, and enzymes can also be helpful towards repairing the digestive system or Spleen. Of course, what we DON’T eat is just as important as what we do eat. Stay away from sugar and processed foods such as cereals, breads, pastas, cakes, and cookies as these all weaken our immune systems.
You can also add in nutrients, supplements, and/or herbs to boost your immune system. High dose vitamin C, vitamin D, and Zinc are all great additions to your daily regimen. There are wonderful Chinese herbs to also boost and tonify Wei Qi (immunity) as well. If you are a regular patient at the clinic and would like a customized herbal formula to address this, please let me know and I would be beyond happy to help you. Please do allow a little extra time right now for your herbal formulas to be prepared as requests and orders are high right now. We will triage based upon what each person is experiencing.
Getting regular acupuncture treatments also boosts the immune system and will be very helpful physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. In TCM language, when we are giving a treatment to increase immune function, we "Tonify Wei Qi". However, here is an article that also explain the effect of acupuncture on immunity from a Western perspective: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540978/
If you are feeling any flu like symptoms, such as fever, chills, body aches, cough, sore throat, or fatigue, you will need a different formula customized to what your TCM diagnosis is. If you are feeling sick, please schedule an online herbal consult so that we can treat your underlying pattern of imbalance.
If you are having any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, be sure to go into the Emergency room right away. Do not drive yourself. Have a family member drive you or call 911.
The clinic is currently taking extra sanitary precautions for your protection and sanitizing all surfaces between every patient. We will continue to do what we always have in the fact that we wash our hands frequently, sanitize equipment, and use clean disinfected sheets between every patient. Your safety and well-being are our absolute number one priority and always will be.
Lastly, in times of uncertainty and heightened social strain, we can use this as an opportunity to examine our priorities in life. What is most important to us? Are we spending our time in the way that serves us most? Are we spending time with the people we love most? Are we living our lives to our highest potential? How are we responding both internally and externally during a time that demands so much of our attention and thought?
We need to remember that we are a community and we all need each other not just during this current period, but ongoing. We all need to find ways to support one another and that can be in so many different ways. Maybe it is taking a break from the news and calling a friend you haven’t talked to a really long time, having more “present” time with your kids where you give them 100% of your attention, or maybe it means giving your neighbor some toilet paper. 😊 Support and giving show up in so many different, unique ways. Make it a daily practice to dig deep for what you are grateful for in this life and how you show up in a bigger way for yourself, your family, and your community. This is an opportunity both internally and externally.
I hope you know that our clinic will continue to be of support to you and your family and will look for ways to show up in a bigger way. Please let us know how we can support you.
Brittany Petrick, L.Ac. and the Harmonizing Healthcare team
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