It starts with a tickle in the nose or throat, and then a runny nose. Then it progresses to frequent sneezing and a sore throat. Add in a cough, body aches, hoarseness, feverishness, chills, and a general malaise. Yes, it looks like you've caught the Common Cold.
According to Western Medical theory, the Common Cold is caused by the rhinovirus, a very adaptable virus that infects the nose, sinuses, ears, and bronchial tubes. An average duration for the Common Cold is one week. If the infection is severe, it could last for a couple of weeks.
There are many cold remedies out there. Although very few people in our culture know about it, Traditional Chinese Medicine is an effective treatment for the Common Cold.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, the primary cause of the Common Cold is a "Pathogenic Wind" that invades the body and interferes with regular functions of the respiratory and immune systems. It does sound a little odd to modern ears, but the ancient Chinese physicians knew that colds were caused by something unseen. Wind is something that cannot be seen, but its effects on the environment are quite apparent. Five thousand years ago the Chinese physicians did not have the luxury of a microscope to detect bacteria or viruses. However, they were very observant of weather patterns and the natural rhythms of their surrounding environment. So it was actually quite logical for the ancient Chinese to attribute an unseen pathogen to Wind.
When Pathogenic Wind invades from outside and attacks the body, it enters through nose and skin. It then interferes with the functions of the Wei Qi, the body's defensive energy that fights off foreign invaders. When the Wei Qi has been impeded, this gives rise to the symptoms associated with the Common Cold.
In ancient China the best doctors were not the ones who cured the sick. Instead, the greatest doctors were the ones who educated their patients and showed them how to prevent illness in the first place.
What does Traditional Chinese Medicine teach about how to prevent a Pathogenic Wind Invasion? The majority of the teachings fall under the category of common sense. Eat well. Have a healthy diet. Get plenty of sleep. Engage yourself in regular health exercises, such as yoga, qi gong, or meditation, to reduce your level of stress. Each of these things helps promote the strength of the Wei Qi and ensures your immune function will be working at an optimal level.
It is also a good idea minimize your exposure to wind. This includes not only outdoor breezes but also indoor winds, such as the cold blast of air coming from an air-conditioner. Wear clothing that is appropriate to protect you from a breezy environment. The back of the neck is an area that is quite vulnerable to Wind Invasion, so wearing a scarf is a wonderful way to ward yourself from a Pathogenic Wind.
However, if you do succumb to a Pathogenic Wind Invasion, both acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can help lessen the severity and shorten the duration of the invasion. This is because appropriate acupuncture treatments and certain herbal formulas are tailored to specifically drive the Pathogenic Wind out of the body, regulate the functions of the Wei Qi and alleviate the prevalent symptoms that arisen. When the Pathogenic Wind is driven out, the Wei Qi function is no longer impeded and will allow the body to recover in a much quicker fashion. A cold that could have lasted eight days might now only last three.
As a Licensed Acupuncturist, it always pleases me to see the reaction that my patients have after a treatment. "Hey! I can actually breath through my nose again." "Wow! I don't feel the strong urge to cough anymore." "My chest just doesn't feel as tight as it did when I came in." These are some of the typical responses that I have heard after I've treated someone for a Pathogenic Wind Invasion. Many of these patients were a little skeptical when they came in, but they were all seeking a treatment that would help rid them of their Common Cold symptoms. They were surprised at their realization - Traditional Chinese Medicine is effective for treating the Common Cold.
Terry Fox is certified by the National Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and licensed by the State of Colorado to practice Acupuncture. He is also former Board member of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado. His mission is to help his patients connect with their own innate healing abilities by facilitating the creation of balance between body and mind, spirit and the environment. His website is http://www.artesianspringom.com