We've seen a lot of colds this past week...
And it's ok! Because I have a personal crusade against phlegm! If you've met me, you already know.
Treating acute sinus and bronchial conditions is one of my very favorite things because Chinese medicine helps SO MUCH and works so quickly. Of course bacterial and/or viral conditions can be persistent and stubborn - it can take a 2-4 treatments + Chinese herbs to completely eradicate your acute symptoms. In addition to utilizing Chinese medicine to treat colds and flus, I want to share with you a few simple yet supportive practices and dietary tweaks you can utilize when you feel something coming on or when you are in the throes of some serious discomfort!
1. Dry Skin Brushing
I practice this daily but it is also great when you are sick! Dry skin brushing stimulates lymphatic flow and assists in decongesting the skin. You can purchase a dry skin brush from the Community Pharmacy or you can swing by our clinic as we will be carrying them next week! I recommend it so often I decided to have them on hand for patients <3
2. Detox Bath
I have a tried and true "detox" bath recipe that I have been using for over a decade. It has spared me from developing many a full-blown illness and has helped me while I am recovering from an acute situation. The recipe includes:
* 4 cups epsom salts (I buy them in 50 lb bags from Greg at Float Madison)
* 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root, wrapped in a hankie (from your local grocery store)
* 2-32 oz bottles of 3% hydrogen peroxide (you can buy peroxide by the gallon at Woodman's grocery stores. I know it seems excessive, however, one gallon gets you 2 bath's worth!)
Add all the ingredients to a bath tub full of water, not too hot, not too cold. Get yourself all dry skin-brushed beforehand. Soak for at least 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary (thus the bulk options).
3. Castor oil packs
Castor oil packs provide additional lymphatic support and aid in elimination of the gnarly stuff. You can get wool flannel + castor oil from the co-op or any local natural grocery store OR you can pick them up our clinic - we will have them in next week! We stock castor oil in 16 oz. glass bottles + unbleached wool flannel.
An obvious choice! Being on your hydration game can further help elimination. Sometimes water is not enough and in that instance I recommend incorporating a little coconut water to replenish your electrolytes. This can be particularly helpful if there is sweating or heat involved in your symptom picture. You might not think of the fluids you are losing & so I am here to gently remind you. In Chinese medicine, your fluids are precious! More on that later.
Another classic. Culturally and socially, rest is not encouraged. It is, however, one of our most underutilized healing modalities. We also have different rest requirements depending upon the seasons. More on this later, too. My general recommendation: when there is more darkness, you should rest more. I often like to refer to a solid acute sinus situation as "forced rest" because it will stop you in your tracks. The expression of various acute symptoms is of course related to the influence of microorganisms but it also speaks to the function of your overall immunity, the state of your qi and your body's ability to mount an appropriate response to various insults. If you are totally laid out by an acute illness, take a moment to reflect on your stress level + your various obligations. It is completely acceptable (and necessary!) to take time to yourself, to rest and to allow your body to heal properly!
6. Dietary tweaks
Eliminate dairy and sugar. I know this is blasphemous being a human being born and raised in the Dairy State but it's TRUE. Dairy moistens, it produces mucous. It is an actual fact. If you have chronic and persistent or simply acute sinus congestion and phlegm: dairy is not your friend. It will only make you more phlegmy and it will hinder your body's ability to fully recover. Sugar lowers your immunity, as well. Eating warm, cooked vegetables, soups and stews, bone broths or veggie broths will all support your vitality and help nourish your system while your body heals.