Prevention is the Best Health Treatment
We say that prevention is better than cure, and Traditional or Classic Chinese Medicine is a complete health system that helps with prevention and it is in my opinion the best health treatment. It is based on the concept of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements (or Five Movements) that are part of the Taoist Tradition and Philosophy. This tradition sees or understands the person as a whole, a complex of interconnected body, mind and spirit and it was this characteristic that attracted me to study Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine more than 30 years ago. Yes, I am writing based in my own personal experience, and as we say, "prevention is better than cure".
We are living difficult times, we have never been challenged to this level on every aspect of our lives, and I firmly believe that if we make our body, mind and soul stronger and healthier we can prevent falling ill and we can get through this period of crises and reach the other side better than we were before. According to the Chinese Tradition, moments of crises are also moments that bring opportunities, and we need to take this opportunity to make our health better from now on.
Chinese Medicine health system is fantastic for improving our immune system and therefore it helps with prevention, as our immune system is the first point of resistance against pathogens that can fight and avoid illnesses to develop. The Chinese health system includes techniques such as Acupuncture, Acupressure, Nutrition, Herbal treatments and Exercise (Qi Gong = involving body movements, controlled breathing and meditation). We can use this time of social isolation or lock-down to look closely to our previous lifestyle and improve our lives as much as possible.
I have been reading and analysing every article that I can get my hands on, and I want to share some good content here with you over the next few posts. So, to start I am writing to share with you some tips for good health and well-being, these are only a few tips but they cover important aspects of health, they work as prevention and remember, prevention is better than cure!
In this post I am not writing about general aspects of nutrition yet and I will leave that for another post, but I have to introduce this subject saying that the people that are experiencing the worst symptoms of the COVID 19 pandemic are the ones with metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and these are pre-existing conditions that involve chronic inflammation.
An advice is given based on Chinese medicine, is that we should avoid over-consumption of foods that cause “dampness”; we use the term dampness to refer to an over-accumulation of fluid, causing excess mucus, phlegm, swelling, and too much fluid in the lungs (pneumonia). Chinese medicine doctors treating coronavirus in China have been reported to classify it as a “damp plague”, a pathogen that thrives in “damp” environments. Therefore, if we make our bodies less damp we should become less hospitable to this virus, there are a few published articles coming from Chinese doctors about that.
Some of the foods that cause increased dampness are: sugar, alcohol, dairy products, cold drinks and cold raw uncooked food. Have your drinks without ice, prefer steamed or roasted vegetables over salads, and instead of a smoothie have a bowl of soup or a hot tea. And remember that above all we should eat “real food” and not overly processed food, eat good fats, protein and plenty of vegetables (plenty of mushroom) and fruits too, more on mushrooms in a future newsletter and in my blog.
You might have heard me saying a few times that you should drink fresh ginger tea to fend off a cold, just cut a few slices of ginger root and steep it in hot water or at least 5 minutes, you can find other recipes in a previous post.
You should also take a good probiotic daily and also Vitamin C, 3000 mg a day of vitamin C, in separate doses is recommended to boost your immune system. For more extensive information on an anti-inflammatory diet and to improve your immune system, making yourself a less hospitable host for pathogens in general, feel free to reach out to me, I can give you nutritional advice for overall immune system and digestive health too (my recently finished MSc in Nutrition comes handy now).
Sleeping and Breathing Exercises
Get plenty of sleep. Even before this coronavirus crisis started, sleep disorders together with anxiety were some of the most common symptoms that my patients presented at the first consultation. With increased stress and uncertainty, even someone that previously slept well may find it challenging to get adequate rest nowadays. Sleep and rest help to make our immune system function much better, and not getting enough sleep seriously impairs its performance.
Take a siesta, you will benefit from lying down for 20 minutes or so and have positive effect on your immune system. Sleep medication, prescribed or over-the-counter, often lead to addiction and side-effects and may not give you real sleep. You can always give me a call and we can talk about other, more natural habits and potential flower essences or herbal solutions.
Relaxation and stress management techniques are important to help us to find peace and calm even during very intense stress. There will always be stress in life, things can happen that trigger our fight or flight response, stress is normal in life and can be useful as a motivator pushing us forward and helping us grow. The important thing is to give ourselves time to calm down and shift back into a restful state and recover, which allows our immune defences to work much better.
You can rest and relax having a hot bath, playing with a pet, playing with your children, listening to calming music, meditating, following a guided relaxation or self-hypnosis, make time for yourself and do whatever helps you to relax.
I am offering online appointments when I can teach you some techniques for relaxation such as breathing exercises, Qi Gong (pronounced “chee gung”) movements and acupressure self massage, please call me if you want more info on the sessions.
Regular exercise helps to improve our cardiovascular health, our immune system, and builds lung capacity and endurance. Moderate to intense exercise that makes us sweat and our heart rate to increase, done on a regular basis for around 150 minutes a week allows our body’s health to improve, again prevention is better than cure!
I believe that if you follow these simple preventative tips you can improve your health and immune system and using prevention before cure. It is important, at this moment when we are all in social isolation until the authorities let us know that it is safe to relax this measure, that we seize the moment and take care of our health and BE more than DO!
Know that I cannot touch you, I can not stick a needle on your body, but I am here to help and I can listen to you as a friend too! Of course I have to say that I can teach you acupressure points for self massage and tapping techniques, breathing exercises, meditation, some Qi Gong movements and I can give you nutritional advice on how to change your diet and suggest supplements or flower essence remedies for better health, immunity and well-being, just because that is what I DO, but I am also a good friend to my patients, I just AM.
Given the potential seriousness of the virus, if you are showing symptoms, I ask you to check NHS online and follow their guidance.
My best wishes that you and your family stay well throughout this time, with love,