Updated: Jun 21
7 ways to avoid colds this winter
With the cold season upon us (in the Southern Hemisphere), it is more important than ever to protect our Wei Qi, which in western medicine terms translates to our immune system. Consider Wei Qi to be a protective aura that sits just beneath your skin.
This type of Qi keeps you warm, regulates your sweating, and, most importantly, protects you from externally contracted diseases such as the common cold and flu.
A healthy person has strong Wei Qi, according to Chinese medicine. So, first and foremost, I'll discuss ways to keep your Wei Qi strong.
Natural ways to prevent colds and flus:
Breathing exercises, because Wei Qi is related to the Lung. I'll state the obvious; smoking is bad for the lungs. So if you are a smoker, or if you suffer from asthma, your symptoms probably tend to worsen during cold weather.
Exercise is a great way to keep up a strong immune system. Even slow yin types of exercise help to strengthen your Wei Qi. I am a big fan of walking as exercise, it is easy on the joints, moves a lot of Qi and has a strong meditative effect.
Herbs have been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine, the most popular formula to strengthen the immune system is Yu Ping Feng San, with only 3 ingredients, this formula works on the spleen and the lungs (the 2 main organs involved in making Qi).
Eat according to the season, make sure your food is warm and cooked as this helps to keep the digestive fire going.
Shelter yourself from the cold. I remember my grandmother used to tell me to cover my neck and wear scarfs when it was cold, and I used to think she was mad for thinking that's how you contracted colds. Turns out that in fact Chinese medicine believes that external pathogens can be contracted by cold entering via..... wait for it..... the ape of your neck! - Sorry grandma.
Acupuncture is obviously a wonderful way to keep your body strong and healthy. Other ways to keep your body warm and Wei Qi strong is with "Ginger moxa". If you haven't experienced this wonderful technique, now is the time! Not only does it feel amazing, but it is a wonderful way to warm up your meridians.
Reduce stress. When we are under stress, our bodies are in a constant oxidative state and the process of cellular repair is hindered, with that our immune system is compromised. This is precisely why we tend to fall sick when we are under stress. When the 'fight and flight' nervous system is switched on, other less important functions for survival are slowed down; for example digestion and procreation. Acupuncture is proven to be very beneficial to reduce stress, and this is a research based fact my friends! (1).
If it is too late and you have caught a cold, follow the steps below as soon as you feel any of the early symptoms such as chills and/or fever, occipital headaches, body aches, scratchy or sore throat, tiredness.
Spring Onion and Miso Soup
The combination of spring onion and miso soup is excellent for treating mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, congestion, and headaches (especially at the back of the head).
Consume hot after meals, then rug up. This will cause a mild sweat, which helps release internal and externally contracted disorders.
Take 3-5 stalks of spring onion (white part only), 3-4 tablespoons of red miso, and 6 cups of water to make this soup.
Dissolve the miso in 2 teaspoons of boiling water. Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a pot and then add the dissolved miso. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the spring onion and continue to cook for 3 minutes at low temperature.
Cook for no more than 10 minutes, and do not allow the miso to boil as this will kill the probiotics in it.
Sleep and rest. It is a scientifically proven fact that adequate sleep is critical for cell repair. On the contrary, sleep disruption has been identified as an underlying cause for multiple diseases (2) If you feel sick or just 'under the weather', let your body rest and repair itself. Put the guilt aside and forget about to-do lists, work and social events. Surrender to what your body is telling you, rest, relax, recover!