At this time of the year it is common for people to find themselves feeling a little stuffy in the head, maybe a little cough, some sneezing or a runny nose. It may be a minor irritation or perhaps a downright crippling flu. With this in mind I would like to relate an often told story that highlights the different attitude toward cold and flu and its treatment in China.
Some years ago, a group of esteemed scientists from the People's Republic of China were invited to visit the United States by the American scientific community. This event ushered in an exchange of ideas and an opportunity for two great nations to be able to corroborate on a number of issues vital to the health and welfare of the world.
Over a period of two months, the Chinese scientists visited virtually every major research facility in the nation, followed closely by their American hosts, who were furiously taking notes and promoting discussion on matters from nuclear physics to aerospace, medical research and treatment approaches. The visit culminated in a banquet at Princeton University in honor of the Chinese scientists, which was attended by a virtual "who's who" of the North American scientific world.
During the banquet, the moderator of the event posed the question to the chief Chinese scientist as to what he felt was one of the most significant things he had learned in America; what had impressed him the most about the United States that he would return to China and share it with his colleagues who were not present on this historic visit? The scientist rose from his chair, strode to the microphone, gazed over the crowd and stated in understandable English: "The number one thing that has impressed me the most about America is the common belief by the common person that there is no cure for the common cold." The American scientists were totally caught off guard with this statement, as it was perhaps the farthest thing from anyone's mind. It was not what they had expected to hear (Acupuncture Today).
As the most common sickness experienced by people the world over, it is no surprise that Chinese medicine with its long history is well regarded in China as a cure for cold and flu. This knowledge is slowly spreading to the rest of the world with more and more people every year seeking treatment from their local acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist for cold and flu. The beauty of Chinese medicine is that when caught and treated in the early stages (before the pathogen has had a chance to penetrate more deeply and is still in the most superficial channels), cold and flu can be stopped dead in its tracks, completely preventing or dramatically reducing the symptoms. For someone who is already suffering the unpleasant effects of cold and flu, acupuncture can do a lot to reduce symptoms and speed along the recovery process.
The best approach, as always, is prevention. Stay healthy by maintaining a regular routine of light exercise. Don't let the cold and dark of winter convince you that you should be hibernating. Eat warm nourishing food in the cold months from autumn to spring, this will give your body the energy it need to fight off the bugs. Stay out of the wind as much as possible. Remember, the wind is the spearhead of a thousand illnesses, so make sure you wear a scarf when you are out, and keep your lower back well covered. When you feel the first signs of cold and flu, a bit of a sniffle or a scratchy throat, make an appointment to see your local acupuncturist and get on top of it before it gets on top of you!