This article was published in Hedra News January 2016.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers an alternative perspective on how the human body functions within itself and its environment. It observes what happens to our bodies under certain stressors, and forms a pattern for understanding the imbalances in that can manifest. In the winter our immune systems are put to the test. In TCM, the Lungs relate to the immune system. We commonly see disorders of the lungs in the winter such as cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus issues, and dry skin. Another aspect of the immune system is deeper more chronic or long term. This includes the part of the immune system that relates to autoimmune diseases, long term allergies and chronic asthma. TCM considers this part of the immune system to be controlled by the Kidneys.
TCM is a holistic approach that connects the person and their environment and seasons. As mentioned in last month’s article “Acupuncture and Change”, TCM connects the season of Fall with the Lungs, and Winter with the Kidneys. In the fall the colder weather changes are new and have just begun. The immune system of the Lungs reflects that - it is superficial, recent, newly changed. The immune system of the Kidneys, which correspond to Winter, is deeper, colder, darker, and longer lasting. It is important to boost your immune system in preparation for the winter early in the the fall. There are immune boosting tips to follow during the winter season as well. Here are a few things you can do to give your body that boost for your short-term and long-term immunity:
Take a good quality daily vitamin – Since fresh vitamin rich produce is hard to come by in Idaho in the winter, supplementing your diet is important. Also, a lack of sunlight can cause vitamin D deficiency, and increase depression.
Drink bone broth or Miso soup – Another source high in vitamins. Bone broth marrow which treats the Kidneys and heals the gut lining; Miso contains seaweed which supplements the Kidneys.
Adrenals relate to the Kidneys – The adrenals are glands that regulate stress hormones. Relieve stress and give your adrenals a break. Acupuncture is an amazing tool for regulating stress hormones!
See a licensed Acupuncturist – Weekly treatments can boost your longevity and help your immune system find it’s way back to balance. Acupuncture will treat any symptoms associated with the immune system along with the common winter colds and flu’s. Chinese herbs are also be helpful in remedying these conditions.
You’ll live better and longer – Taking care of your body will improve your quality of life, and you’ll feel better while doing it. One main focus for acupuncture is to help bring the body back to balance. If you are having symptoms then you most likely have an imbalance somewhere.