Taking care of your immunity is often one of the primary health concerns for a lot of people as we move through the winter season. The dryer air, colder temperatures, and often lower daily activity conspire to add their own unique stress to our bodies – in a way that often results in catching the common cold.
However, we don’t have to accept common colds as a regular occurrence in the winter. In many countries, common colds are preventable, and even if symptoms start to develop, they can be rapidly addressed to reduce the duration and severity.
The battle here is won before it even starts. If you are prone to colds, preparing in the summer and fall season will make moving through the winter season symptom-free more of a possibility. In the eyes of Traditional East Asian Medicine, the immune system is directly nourished and influenced by the digestive system. If common colds occur more often than you would like, I would recommend that you take a look how your body processes food, along with what kind of food you are putting into your body.
If you are in need of a digestive boost, consider eating more soups, stews, and slow-cooked meals. Slow-cooked meats and vegetables in a sauce are very digestible for the body. This allows the spared digestive energy to be used by other systems, such as the immune system.
From an external perspective, keeping your outer mucosal membranes moist through dry and cold air days can help to reduce the susceptibility of catching a cold. For example, when the nasal membranes dry out, they can develop microscopic cracks that allow for pathogens to enter past our first line of defense, the skin. Applying a natural oil, like coconut or castor oil, to the inside of your nose can help keep those mucosal membranes soft and healthy.
Keeping warm and avoiding exposure to cold drafts and cold water is another great way to reduce the likelihood of catching a cold. Wrapping the neck, upper back, and lower back can help your body better regulate its defenses. In Traditional East Asian Medicine, pathogens often invade the body by gaining access to these sensitive areas.
I would be remiss to not mention how well herbs can help fill the gaps left behind by incomplete diets. Traditional East Asian herbal formulas can be tailored to the individual to build up their digestive power and strength of their immune system. This year, 2018, can be the year of your fewest colds if you harness the resources available to bring your health into a better state of balance.
If you have any questions regarding Traditional East Asian Medicine or Herbal Medicine, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diego Garcia – Performance Coach, Chinese Herbal Medicine
MAcOM, BS, CSCS
Diego comes from a varied background of fitness and martial arts including resistance training, acrobatics, Capoeira, saber fencing, hand-balancing, and high-intensity interval conditioning. As a coach, Diego acknowledges the mental and spiritual transformation that goes hand-in-hand with athletic training and helps cement positive habits into real personality traits. Whatever your training goals may be, Diego can help you find the safest and most effective path to realizing your fitness dreams.