health, nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine

How to live well this winter

Well! Winter is certainly packing a punch this year. My weather app says we’re due for -4 degrees Celsius tonight. Brrrrrrrrrrr.  Note to self: I need to refresh my winter wardrobe.Winter leunig

But what about winter and your health? Winter has a bad reputation for ‘catching a cold’ and cops the flack for setting the scene for ‘flu season’.

Here in Launceston, we certainly notice the seasons in a big way particularly as the days are much shorter and the temperature is much cooler. And those frosts!

In keeping with my other seasonal living guides (summer and autumn), here is your guide to living well in winter.

Winter is all about the Water element (in which we find the Kidneys and Bladder). It is when the Yang (hot, energetic Qi) is hidden by the Yin (cool, peaceful Qi) accumulation. And so we crave:

    • Comfort and being cosy
    • Embracing the indoors, or well warmed outdoor spaces
    • Introversion
    • Getting more sleep (earlier to bed, later to rise – just like the sun)
    • Using the warm quilt and/or flannelette sheets
    • Getting crafty (crocheting or knitting? I heard they are the new yoga!)
    • Comforting foods – soups, stews, curries, apple cinnamon crumble

Continue reading “How to live well this winter”

acupuncture, food, health, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The art of war: Your Defences v The Common Cold

There’s nothing worse than being stuck on public transport and the person behind you is sneezing constantly and coughing up something repulsive at the back of your head.  You can almost feel the ‘goobs’ sinking into your skin and infecting your body.  This could happen anywhere though, in the office or even in your own home – think: kids – they seem to take the ‘sharing is caring’ sentiment a little too literally!

With the cold and flu season upon us, how can you prime your body’s defence force (or wei qi as it is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine) to be ready for combat at the first sign of an invading enemy virus?

  • Keep your lungs strong
    • Not such a crazy idea when you consider that the common cold attacks the respiratory system.  This means avoid smoking, manage or resolve any ongoing respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma, cough, post-nasal drip) prior to cold and flu season and practice good posture that allows you to open your chest so that you breathe deeply and well.
  • You are what you eat
    • We need a strong army of wei qi (immune system) to fight off any invading bugs and the army need to be fed well to do their job – chips and pizza just won’t cut it.  Make sure you are getting your five serves of vegetables each day, preferably stir-fried, steamed or made into soup.
    • Choose pungent foods (such as onions, ginger and garlic) that force your wei qi to the surface of your body.  A great example is a Vietnamese noodle soup.  And don’t forget to sip on some spiced tea or chai. Avoid cold, raw, excessive oily and fatty foods that bring your qi inwards (or encourage your army to become cowardly, retreating and surrendering territory to the lurgy.)
  • If you are in need of some additional weapons – then some astragalus (huang qi) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb of choice to build wei qi as a cold and flu preventative.  Western herbalists favour echinacea for the immune system.  It’s best to discuss your concerns with a herbalist to ensure you are taking the right herb/s for your situation.  Acupuncture may also be useful to those who are highly susceptable to every bug around, start treatment just prior to the cold and flu season.

Now is the time to show action and put these plans into play to give your defences a boost.  Attention!

If you have already been bitten by a cold or flu and symptoms are manifesting here are some tips:

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.