In Chinese medicine, if we harmonize our behavior with the transitions in the seasons we will experience optimum health. But in our fast-paced, globalized world, many of us have lost the ability to be flexible with what nature gives us.
For example; in the past, we would only have seasonal produce available. Nature would tell us the right foods to eat in any season and in a given location. But now we have food sourced globally which is very convenient, but eating summer foods (which are cold) in winter (an already cold time) can upset the balance of your Qi.
There are many reasons why we are more susceptible to illness during this seasonal transition, but fortunately, I have some centuries’ old tips for staying healthy and avoiding colds during this time.
Tips for Staying Healthy with Chinese Medicine
1. Cover Up
Scarves not only make your outfit stand out, but they also provide a barrier that stops the cold from getting in under your collar. By sealing in the heat and keeping your neck warm you will protect key acupuncture points that reside at the back of our head, neck and shoulders.
During the summer months, these points are strong. But come the cooler months where wind, cold and dampness sets in, they can get weak and create imbalance. So wrap up and stay healthy!
2. Drink Medicinal Soup
In Chinese Medicine, illness is a sign that the body’s yin and yang are out of balance. By consuming certain ingredients in hot soup, you can heal this imbalance within your body.
A key ingredient for regaining balance and improving digestion is ginger. Ginger has also been known for its ability to fight colds, along with garlic, cinnamon and chives. Eat these at the first sign of a cold.
To prepare – cook these ingredients together in a broth for a medicinal soup, or add them as prominent flavors in your cooking. For a quick fix make a hot ginger and cinnamon tea.
3. Go to Bed!
The sun is setting earlier and you should be following suit for optimal health. The body heals the most between 10 pm and 2 am, so snuggle in with a good book and be ready for sleep by 9 pm – 9:30 pm.
If this seems like a struggle at first stick with it! It helps if you also consistently wake earlier. The closer we align our sleep patterns to the rise and fall of the sun, the healthier we will be.
4. Build Energy the Chinese Way
The best way to stay healthy is to make sure that your internal milieu is as robust as possible. The best place to start is to build up your energy and immunity with regular acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
Chinese medicine can directly increase your immune system’s strength, therefore making you less susceptible to pathogens that you will inevitably come into contact with. They say “Prevention is better than cure.” And Chinese Medicine is the epitome of that philosophy.