If the past few weeks are any indication, we're in for a chilly winter (then again, this is Kentucky, so I could be putting my foot in my mouth!). However, regardless of temperature, flu season is upon us and whether you've had your flu shot or not, it's the perfect time to get your integrative seasonal tune-up. And let's not forget that as much as we love the holidays, they can create excessive stress, which puts us at risk of getting sick.
So - what can an integrative approach offer for fending off illnesses in the cold months?
Acupuncture can be used to strengthen your immune response, improve lymphatic drainage, and open your breathing pathways, so you can put your best immune foot forward when exposed to colds, flu, etc. When combined with Moxibustion, your internal environment will feel like a warm hearth staving off the cold bite of winter. Acupuncture can also help speed up your recovery after getting over a severe illness so you can get back to feeling yourself quickly. Don't worry, that doesn't mean we're going to make you go back to work sooner, getting ample recovery time is crucial for maintaining health and productivity.
Cupping is another great immune system tool for a few reasons. First, cupping is a great way to loosen up the muscles and fascia, especially in the upper back region where we often ache before, during, and after illnesses. Cupping also helps improve circulation and lymphatic drainage so your body can do what it knows to do while fighting infections. Lastly, Cupping is a fantastic anti-phlegmatic (think of it as a manual Mucniex treatment); cupping encourages your lungs to purge phlegm and create space in the rib cage for breathing. This is especially helpful for those with asthma, COPD, & emphysema, etc who need to take extra care of their respiratory systems in the winter.
Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and Cupping are all great tools for preventative care, EARLY intervention, and recovery. That being said, if you're in the thick of an active infection, we ask that you refrain from booking appointments so we can keep ourselves, our clinic, and our patients healthy. However, that doesn't mean we can't help you when you're actively ill, and this is precisely where herbal medicine is particularly useful.
Like our "in-clinic" treatments, herbal medicine can be used for early intervention and recovery. However, herbal medicine can also be used *during* illnesses; we can typically prepare herbs for you within a few hours, which can be picked up and brought home. Herbs can help quell colds and upper respiratory infections and ease their symptoms. They can help your sinuses, throat, and lungs flush, and they can even speed up recovery with more severe infections like influenza. After the infection has passed, nourishing and strengthening herbs can help you recover both physically and mentally/emotionally. Even better, herbs can be taken prophylactically (with or without acupuncture), so you get sick less often and less severely in the cold months
Some of our favorite Immuni-Tea herbs are cinnamon, magnolia bud, cocklebur, white angelica, astragalus, honeysuckle, forsythia, yarrow, mint, pinellia, trichosanthes, apricot kernel, purple aster, kudzu, monk fruit, ginger, elderflower, and elderberry. Most formulas will have 10-12 ingredients and be custom designed to treat YOU in your particular state. Even as I'm writing this I'm sipping on a custom blend of peppermint, yarrow, elderflower, elderberry, red raspberry, and rosebuds :) Depending on your needs, some formulas can be prepared in a dry loose-leaf tea form that you can keep at home and brew a cup as needed.
So, regardless of your health status right now, it's the perfect time to get your "Integrative Flu Shot" of acupuncture and herbal medicine!
**Note: we are not promoting the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine in place of doctor-recommended treatments. We firmly believe that an integrative approach combines the wisdom of both conventional and holistic medicine**