An Acupuncturist Can Help Keep Your Cold at Bay‘Tis the season for colds and the flu, but luckily we have ways in which we can boost our immune systems to ward off illness. Acupuncture is oftentimes thought of as a pain-relieving treatment, but did you know it could also help to naturally boost your immune system?
Acupuncture, a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has been used for thousands of years to help enhance the immune system. As an acupuncturist, I assess the health and well-being of my patients much differently than my Western Medical counterparts. I think in abstract concepts, as I look for imbalances of Qi (pronounced “chee,” which is loosely translated as vital energy) as it pertains to the universal principles of Yin and Yang.
Qi takes on many forms in our body, one of which is called “Wei Qi,” or “Defensive Qi,” better known as our immune system here in the West. The main function of Wei Qi is to protect the body from external pathogens that can make us sick. When our Wei Qi is strong, our bodies can easily ward off illness.
From a TCM perspective, your body could potentially go through six stages of sickness when you catch a cold. Depending on where you are in the progression of your cold will determine where I insert hair-thin needles to help boost your immune system, helping your body to strengthen itself so you can feel well again.
Conventional medicine has begun paying closer attention to acupuncture as there have been numerous research studies explaining the complex mechanism of action it has on the body.
Most recently, scientists have been able to determine the role acupuncture plays in boosting the body’s immune system by enhancing the production of natural killer cells, which is the primary defense mechanism against organisms that make us sick. It also acts on a complex immune building system that regulates white blood cells directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders.
For patients who are seeking to boost their immune system to protect them from getting sick, oftentimes a multidisciplinary approach is best. Acupuncture can easily be incorporated into your conventional treatment plan, working in tandem with your physician.
You do not have to wait until you are sick to benefit from the immune-boosting benefits of acupuncture. You can begin regular acupuncture visits now as part of your preventative regime to ward off colds and the flu. Optimally, several acupuncture treatments are needed for the body to respond, and “tune up” visits would be beneficial until cold and flu season is over.
If you are interested in a natural way to boost your immune system, you may want to consider an integrative treatment option like acupuncture.