As a traditional therapy applied for thousands of years, acupuncture has recently been attracting more and more investigators throughout the world. In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, it is proposed that acupuncture can strengthen the human body to resist diseases by puncturing needles at certain points. The characteristic that acupuncture enhances resistance is closely related with the immune system, which functions in defence, homoeostasis, and surveillance. More and more research has revealed that acupuncture can regulate immunity, for example, to enhance anticancer and antistress immune function and exert anti-inflammation effects. This may be the basis of acupuncture in preventing and treating later diseases.
If you tend to catch colds often or easily, having acupuncture and taking Chinese herbs before the cold weather hits, can change this. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory claims that this happens when our protective surface energy, or ‘wei qi’, is weak, thus allowing pathogens – equivalent to bacteria and viruses in western Medical terms – to penetrate, for instance when we are stressed or tired.
Certain acupuncture points and herbs strengthen the Wei qi so this does not happen – this is true preventive medicine. Wei qi is dependent on lung function and controls the pores of the skin, keeping then closed to prevent disease factors getting into our bodies. Initially it is best to have weekly acupuncture sessions for a month or so, then continue with regular monthly sessions to support and strengthen immunity. Studies have shown that acupuncture increases the white blood cells in the body.
The name of one of the most well-known herbal formulas that is used in this case, translates as ‘Jade Wind Screen’ Powder, illustrating its ability to protect the body from wind. Its biomedical functions are immune stimulant and anhidrotic (stops sweating) One of the four herbs comprising this formula is Astragalus or Huang Qi. Studies have shown that it reduces the incidence and shortens the duration of the common cold.
So, even though we are enjoying glorious autumn weather at the moment, during the months preceding winter is the best time to boost your immune system so you don’t get sick when the colder weather arrives.