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Keep cold and flu at bay this holiday season

By Dr. Brigitte Tetrault

Our bodies play host to many different organisms. Some guests are welcome; others, like cold and flu viruses, are not.

To help keep these unwanted guests at bay, be proactive rather than just fearful of getting sick. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a number of options for prevention and treatment of colds, flu and other seasonal ailments.

When it comes to nutrition, eat plenty of warm foods – and crank up the spice as well as the temperature. Add a little ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamon to warm up smoothies, hearty stews and soups.

In terms of lifestyle, do your best to get daily physical activity – but try not to overdo it. Our immune systems naturally weaken with winter’s shorter days, meaning our bodies need more rest – so ensure you’re getting adequate sleep. Finally, try to lower your stress levels by reducing worry and addressing things that may be causing tension.

When it comes to boosting immunity and warding off unwelcome germs, herbal medicines can be very beneficial. If a cold has already hit, they can also provide restorative measures. Depending on the symptoms presented, such as lingering cough or sinus congestion, low energy, poor appetite or even ear infection, a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine will suggest an appropriate herbal prescription to lessen symptoms and strengthen your body’s defences.

Specific treatments, such as acupuncture and neuro-structural integration (NST—a type of hands-on muscle stimulation and release therapy), have also proven effective at offering relief from cold and flu symptoms. They help your body expel deleterious pathogens and are particularly beneficial for persistent, lingering colds.

If you want to avoid a visit from the flu bug, or get rid of that ongoing stuffiness and drippy nose, it might be time to visit a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dr. Brigitte Tetrault is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncturist at Courtenay Healing Centre. She can be reached at 250-338-2866 or info@courtenay.

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