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Acu-Point

Cold and flu be gone

The cold and flu season is upon us. In today’s article we will discuss the common cold and some home remedies to help you prevent its onset or overcome it in a timely fashion.

 

The Common Cold

The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract (nose, lungs and throat).  There are over 100 viruses that can cause the common cold, however, the most common of the 100 is the human Rhinovirus (Rhino = nose) and there are 99 different types of the human Rhinovirus.  The Rhinovirus is highly contagious and is spread via airborne droplets and hand to hand contact. The virus enters the body through the nose, eyes or mouth and chooses to affect the upper respiratory tract. Why? Because the cooler environment of the nose and/or mouth (due to air going in) is more suitable for the virus to grow in, preferring a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius, not the normal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the common cold is looked at a little differently. In TCM the common cold is grouped into five syndromes, which are classified by how the virus affects the upper respiratory tract and therefore what symptoms the patient presents with.  Today we will discuss two of the five TCM common cold syndromes – Wind Cold and Wind Heat.   As I mentioned earlier each syndrome is named based on presenting symptoms.  Wind Cold was given that name because its presenting symptoms are “cold” in nature, the patient feels cold, and has clear phlegm opposed to Wind Heat which presents with “heat” symptoms, mild fever, sweats, and yellow phlegm.

 

1.  Wind Cold

Wind Cold is considered the mildest syndrome and is usually the first stage of the common cold before it progresses deeper into the body.  Wind Cold is usually the easiest type of cold to treat and if caught early enough by the patient, rest and warm liquids are often enough to overcome the cold without further treatment. 

When someone has a Wind Cold the first symptom typically felt is stiffness in the neck and fatigue. Depending on how strong the immune system is or what the patient does as far as rest/remedy, we either see the cold clear up from here or continue to progress with a scratchy throat, coughing, headache and a blocked or running nose with clear phlegm and aversion to cold.  

 

Wind Cold Remedies

If you feel the early symptoms of a Wind Cold coming on:

  • Get some rest so that your immune system can marshal more resources to fend off the virus.
  • Create a false fever.  Have a warm bath or drink warm tea with warm natured herbs like cinnamon.  Either of these options will temporarily raise your body temperature creating what is known as a “false fever”.  If you remember from earlier in the article, the Rhinovirus likes its host environment to be around 33 degrees Celsius so a false fever will make life harder on the virus.
  • Enjoy a little extra garlic and onions in your diet.  In TCM foods like onions and garlic are considered warm, pungent and dispersing and are excellent diet remedies to help get rid of Wind Cold.   

 

Wind Heat

Wind Heat is the next progression of the virus as it begins to get stronger and continues to tax the body.  Symptoms are usually “warmer” in nature with a mild fever, sweats, swollen throat, headache, coughing and production of yellow phlegm.  

 

Wind heat remedies

  • Drinking warm teas made from herbs with a cooling nature.  Mint tea is always an excellent choice. 
  • Avoiding dairy, sugary, and greasy foods.  These foods can make phlegm thicker which can irritate the throat.

 

Prevention

While there is no cure for the common cold there is prevention.  Since the virus can be spread via hand to hand contact, washing hands, utensils, children’s toys, light switches, door knobs and anything else that might become contaminated on a regular basis is one way to reduce your risk of getting the cold and flu this season.

Ensure you are getting adequate rest and avoid being caught out in the chilly air without a scarf or a jacket, particularly as the season begins to change.

 

**This will be my final article as a Castanet columnist so I would like to thank all of my regular readers.   If you would like to continue to follow my articles you can do so on my website blog or my facebook 

Thank you,

Ryan Samuels, R.TCMP, R.Ac



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Fit or healthy

These days we are inundated with pictures, videos and other marketing materials selling the idea of health as an athletic, physically fit individual with a well-sculpted physique and six pack abs.  While I agree that to be healthy one needs to maintain a certain level of physical fitness, but this emphasis on fitness and one’s external appearance often causes many to confuse physical fitness for health.

 

Comparing Fitness & Health

According to the American Department of Health and Human Services, physical fitness is “a set of attributes a person has in regards to his/her ability to perform physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, or flexibility and is determined by a combination of regular activity and genetically inherited ability”.

Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.   When comparing the meaning of both physical fitness and health it is clear to see that the two are not the same.  

When physical fitness gets confused with health, one’s outlook can become skewed and performance, training and physical appearance can become both the driving force and benchmark measurement for what is perceived as being healthy.  This can at times lead to some of the key elements of health (adequate nutrition, emotional well being, body awareness, maintenance of healthy bodily functions and cycles) often taking a back seat.  I see this often with athletic patients who come into my practice, they feel that they are healthy because they are very active and have a high level of physical fitness, however they are often dealing with unhealthy physiological issues such as digestive problems, insomnia, headaches, or psycho emotional problems like anxiety or depression.

 

The Chinese Medicine view of health

Chinese Medicine is in line with the WHO definition of health.  It views health as a “balanced state of mind, body and spirit” or said in a more modern way it views health as a “balanced state of mental, physical, physiological, social, and spiritual well being”.  In Chinese Medicine theory health is cultivated by nourishing and strengthening the inner body (mind, internal organs, organ systems, and nervous system) first and foremost, by eating a balanced nutrient dense diet, getting adequate rest and recovery, and maintaining a practice of self cultivation with internal martial arts (Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or meditation).  By doing this one is able to establish a solid foundation of not only physical fitness but also health from both the inside and out.

 

For questions or to book a consultation please contact my office at 250 860-2212 or visit my website www.kelownaacupucnutreclinic.com



Fight, flight or digest

I have many patients that come into my practice for a wide range of digestive problems caused by poor diet and eating habits.  However, I also see many patients who have healthy diets and excellent eating habits but still suffer from digestive problems. Obviously they are looking for answers as to why this is the case. Often as we dig deeper into their health history the answer becomes quite clear. STRESS.  Emotional, physical and mental stress over long and short periods of time can wreak havoc on digestive health.

The majority of our digestive functions are not under our conscious control but instead are regulated by a system known as the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).  The ANS is divided into what we refer to in Chinese Medicine as a yin and Yang response. The first response, the Yin response, is known as the Parasympathetic response or the rest and digest response and it is governed by the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). The second and the Yang response is known as the Sympathetic response or the fight or flight response and it is governed by the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS).

Let us begin with the latter.  The Sympathetic Nervous System evolved to aid the body in times of stress, and it does this by stimulating the unconscious release of the neurotransmitter known as noradrenaline.  Once released noradrenaline will increase heart rate, mental concentration and blood circulation to skeletal muscles. It will also provide the body with immediate energy by releasing stored glucose (sugar).  The Sympathetic response was and still is a crucial life-saving adaption, especially during the hunter gather days (Paleolithic area) when humans needed quick and sometimes powerful reactions to escape predators and other lethal threats. 

The problem in modern times with the Sympathetic response is two fold.  The first, the Sympathetic Nervous System cannot distinguish between life threatening events such as being chased by a hungry bear and not so life threatening event like getting in a disagreement with a coworker.  The Sympathetic Nervous System perceives a threat/stressor and it responds. Unfortunately this leads to the flight or flight response engaged far too often for too many people. 

The second problem is that the Sympathetic Nervous System is not concerned with digestive function at all and when stress stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System the body halts production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes, saliva, and bile.   The unconscious and healthy contraction of the intestines known as “peristalsis” also stops which can lead to bloating, constipation and inadequate digestion and absorption.  Over time this stress-induced assault on the digestive system can lead to countless other digestive and systemic health concerns.

The low stress Parasympathetic rest and digest response provides the physiological conditions for the digestive system to perform as optimally as possible.  Once the Parasympathetic response in initiated the body’s resources are directed toward the vital organs and the functions of circulation, oxygenation and digestion. The more time spent in the Parasympathetic rest and digest response the better your digestive and overall health will be in both the short and long term.

 

Going From Sympathetic to Parasympathetic

  • Regular exercise  

Something as simple as walking 20 minutes a day can lower your overall stress levels and Sympathetic response.

  • Meditation  

The calming effect of deep diaphragmatic breathing can quickly take the body from a state of fight or flight to rest and digest.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is effective at treating many types of digestive problems but in particular digestive problems that stem from stress or a Sympathetic cause.  Why is that?  Because Acupuncture works directly on the nervous system and has a regulating affect on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and quickly shifts the body from a Sympathetic fight or flight state to an optimal and healthy Parasympathetic rest and digest state.

 

If you have any questions about digestive issues or would like to book a consultation please visit my website: www.kelownaacupunctureclinic.com  or contact my office at 250-860-2212.



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It's not just for pain

It has been proven that Acupuncture can work wonders for back pain, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, and pretty much any other kind of pain you can think of. However, pain is just one of many ailments for which Acupuncture can provide relief.

 

Mood

Anxiety, depression, moodiness, grief are all conditions that can be treated with Acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine. Acupuncture has been shown to enhance the production and secretion of the “happy” neurotransmitters serotonin and endorphins.  Acupuncture increases levels of these neurotransmitters, which can help to lift your mood and put a smile back on your face.

 

Acid reflux/Heartburn

Research has shown a course of 10 regular Acupuncture treatments to be successful in addressing the main mechanism of acid reflux, known as transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (TLERs).  In other words Acupuncture can prevent the sphincter from relaxing, so that prevents stomach contents (stomach acids) from travelling out of your stomach and up into your esophagus.

 

High cholesterol levels

Researchers have discovered Electro – Acupuncture on the Stomach and Large Intestine Acupuncture points, located on the lower legs and forearms, can lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in cases of high cholesterol.  Researchers have also concluded that Acupuncture on selected lower leg Stomach Acupuncture points prevents and reverses the formation of foam cells. Foam cells form at the site of fatty streaks (yellow – white lesions inside arteries) and are the beginning of atherosclerotic plaque formation in blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

 

Hot flashes/night sweats

A combination of Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has been shown to relieve hot flashes and/or night sweats by regulating imbalances in female sex hormone (estrogen & follicle stimulating hormone) levels and body temperature.

 

I.B.S (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Selectively placed needles can have a positive effect on the digestive system as a whole. This is good news for I.B.S sufferers who can have digestive symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating, constipation, diarrhea or a combination of the two.  Acupuncture can provide relief by regulating the rate of intestinal movement – known as peristalsis, increasing intestinal movement for constipation and decreasing intestinal movement for diarrhea.

 

Spinal Disc Herniation

A study conducted in Jiang Bing Hospital in China found a combination of Acupuncture with massage to be more effective in treating lumbar (low back) disc herniation than co-enzyme B12 injections combined with physiotherapy.  The Acupuncture/massage group achieved an overall success rate of 96.7% and the injection therapy/physiotherapy group had an 80.0% success rate.

 

Regenerates nerves

Acupuncture repairs injured nerves. Findings published in Neural Regeneration Research showed that Acupuncture treatments encouraged injured lower and upper limb motor nerves to repair. Nerve conduction tests of Acupuncture patients with nerve injuries documented “an effective response” in 80% of patients that participated in the study.

 

What this means

When the body is overcome by a certain condition (physiological, muscular, neurological, etc.) Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine simply offer support in the form of: neurotransmitters and natural pain killer production and release, hormone and organ regulation, muscle tension release, and nervous system regulation, all things that the body needs to help it overcome the condition in a natural and side effect free manner.

It is excellent that Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have proven to be effective forms of therapy for so many aliments and diseases, however the best medicine is still prevention.

A healthy lifestyle that incorporates a balanced whole food diet, exercise (that you enjoy), adequate rest, life purpose and goals, social activity and Acupuncture treatments to help maintain health and address issues as they arise and before they can become a chronic problem.

 

If you have any questions about Acupuncture or would like to book consultation please contact my office at (250) 860 – 2212 or visit my website www.kelownaacupunctureclinic.com



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About the Author

Ryan Samuels is a Registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medical Herbalist (R.Ac, R.TCMP) at KLO Chiropractic Centre in Kelowna. He holds a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine diploma, and has a special interest in the treatment of digestive issues, neuropathy, acute & chronic pain, sports injuries, and migraines.  All treatments with Ryan are individualized and designed around your current physical and mental well being. 
 

Website link:  http://www.kelownaacupunctureclinic.com/

Contact Email:  r.samuels.acupuncture@gmail.com 
 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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