Nobody likes those first signs of illness…itchy throat, nasal congestion, achy neck and shoulders, a general feeling of fatigue or headache. These are the beginning signs of an illness, and I’m here to tell you that when you get these signs, IT’S NOT TOO LATE! This is your body telling you that it is fighting an infection and it needs your help. Now is the time to listen to your body’s guidance and give it what it needs. As an Acupuncturist I believe in the body’s innate ability to heal itself. We just need to cultivate the right environment for healing to happen. With some attention to self-care and herbal supplementation it’s possible to stop an illness from fully manifesting into something worse.
In Chinese Medicine the beginning phase of an illness is called Tai Yang Syndrome, which literally means, “half in, half out.” This means that the pathogen has not fully penetrated your body as the immune system is fighting it off the best to its abilities. If the pathogen becomes stronger as the immune system becomes weaker, the illness will start to progress and the symptoms will become stronger. The next phase of illness usually includes a fever, sore throat and body aches. There are specific steps you can take at this early phase of an illness which will not only stop the illness, but also give your immune system the boost that it needs to keep you healthy.
A 5-Step Plan for Fighting off Illness:
1. Chinese Herbs
There are many great supplements and herbal formulas you can take at this stage of illness. My go-to supplement is a Chinese Herbal Formula called Yin Qiao San.
Yin Qiao San is a blend of Chinese herbs which have been used for the beginning phases of an illness. Yin Qiao contains anti-viral and tonic herbs that will give your body that added boost it needs to fight off an illness and boost your body’s energy at this time.
Yin Qiao San is available for purchase at an Acupuncturist Office and some Health Food stores. It’s a great formula to have in your medicine cabinet.
2. Rest, Rest, Rest, Rest.
This seems so simple and obvious, yet so effective! When your body is showing you symptoms of illness, back off the exercise, scale back your schedule and treat yourself like you would a small child. Take the day off work, wrap yourself up in your favorite blanket with a good book and rest, support the body’s natural immune response.
3. Sweat it Out!
A great way to kick an illness is to help your body generate some heat, which will kill the pathogen before it fully manifests. Similar to a fever, generating enough heat in the body can create a hostile environment for the pathogen, killing it off before it fully manifests.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth is made from simmering chicken bones in water at a low heat for up to 72 hours. After you remove the chicken bones and meat you are left with a beautiful golden liquid chalked full of medicinal benefits. I would recommend adding plenty of pepper to the broth, helping expectorate the watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs. Bone broth also contains a variety of valuable nutrients in a form your body can easily absorb, strengthening your body and your immune system.
Get some needles! Receiving an acupuncture treatment at the onset of illness can boost your white blood cell, strengthen the immune system and reduce nasal congestion, body aches and fever.
Next time you feel that illness coming on, put some effort into your wellness and you can reap the rewards. You only get one body, let’s treat it well.