Oct 16, 2015

Colds, Flu, Allergies, and Asthma Oh My!

It is finally feeling like fall here in Seattle and along with the change of season comes the start of colds, flu, allergies ,and asthma. As kids go back to school and we adjust to the new, even busier routine… we are all trying to stay healthy! I'm sure that each of us has our “stay healthy routines,” but I thought I would share mine with you. Mine comes from a place informed by Chinese Medicine and can be easily adapted into your own health and well being practices.

When I think of how to support my immune system, according to Chinese Medicine, I think of the Spleen, Lung and Kidney energy. These three organs make up the Wei Qi which is our first line of defense in keeping us well. If these three organs are in balance, then we are able to fight off the pathogens which make us sick.

In Chinese Medicine, the pathogens are primarily wind, heat, and cold. Wind is the pathogen that accompanies both cold and heat and can invade though the back of the neck. That is why Chinese medicine practitioners always tell people to cover the back of their necks, especially during the fall, winter, and spring months when the wind can be most prevalent. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are also recommended to keep your immune system at its prime. If you do happen to get sick, you can add these methods to lessen the severity of the symptoms and length of the illness. Many people think that if they are sick they cannot come to acupuncture. In fact that is a great time to come as I can help you feel better faster! And kids can come too! Kids immune systems need a lift as well, and I can help with that without the use of needles.

Here is what I do to stay healthy:

Spleen support: The spleen is the main organ in charge of our digestion, so I want to make sure that I am eating foods that support the Spleen such as beets, leafy greens, dark berries, and cruciferious veggies. The Spleen likes warm, easy to digest foods so I steam all my veggies. I also avoid eating anything cold out of the fridge and drink all of my liquids room temperature or warmer. Lastly, the Spleen likes regular meals which are mindful and enjoyed…not rushed.

Lung Support: The Lung is responsible for taking in the new..the clean, crisp air that fills us with oxygen allowing us to think clearly and function optimally. In order to do this job we need to exercise the Lungs. I like to do this through my yoga practice and pranayama breathing. My favorite pranayama for the fall months is alternate nostril breathing. This fills my lungs and clears my sinuses at the same time!

Kidney Support: The Kidneys are the root of our energy; our basis of Qi. Supporting the Kidneys takes discipline and is not always easy to do in our busy world. Things which tax the Kidney energy are not enough sleep, too much stress, and little space for the mind to be quiet. I try to have a regular sleep routine, be aware of what I am committing to (trying not to over commit), and I meditate on a regular basis.

In addition to supporting these organs, I get acupuncture, take a multivitamin, and a mushroom tincture called Mycoimmune. I hope these tips help keep you and your families healthy this fall! Stay tuned for what I do when I do get sick...because no one is always in perfect balance!