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Cold season

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

Cold and flu season is hitting us like a polar vortex. It seems like most of us are either feeling sick, just getting over a cold or exhausted from fighting one off. 'Tis the season!

Here are a couple of health cultivating tips that can strengthen our immunity to fight off viruses or help shorten the duration of a cold/flu if it gets past those defenses.
In Chinese medicine, the easiest way for colds and flu to enter into our body is through the back of the head and neck. So, especially as the cold wind amps up, keep those areas covered with a scarf and hat.

Sinus rinses can be a life saver. They can keep mucous moving through the sinuses so it doesn't have time to stick around and brew up into an infection. I recommend using a netti pot/sinus rinse once daily through Fall and Winter. If you do get a cold, up it to twice a day. Always use water that has previously been boiled and cooled or distilled water only.

Get more sleep. In colder months our body's need more rest and down time. It gets dark earlier, so try to get to bed a little earlier too.

Meditate. More rest doesn't exclusively mean more sleep. It's important to take some time during the day to breathe deep and be still. That can mean 5 minutes or an hour, but carve out that time. There are so many different ways to meditate, it's important to find what works for you. Ask me in your next session how this may apply best to you.

Drink enough water. As the radiators kick on, so does the dryness in our homes and offices. So make sure you're staying hydrated throughout the day.

Incorporate more garlic in your diet. Garlic has strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties that help fight colds.

If you do get a cold, I like to gargle with a couple of drops of grapefruit seed extract in water, especially before bed, to help kill some of the virus/bacteria hanging out in our mouth and throat.

Our immunity is housed in our gut. The health of our digestive system directly correlates to the health of our immunity. To cultivate a healthy digestion in the colder months, eat 80-90% warm, cooked food everyday. Breakfast is a tough one for a lot of people to change. One really great option is congee. Congee is a rice porridge that you can add nuts, ginger, spices, fruit, vegetables, basically whatever you like, to make a warm, nourishing meal. You can make it ahead of time and warm it up with whatever additions you want in the morning. Here's a link to a helpful guide to basic congee, but there are plenty of recipes out there to fit your needs.
http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com/cooking-porridge.html

Bone broth is getting it's props lately. There are restaurants popping up throughout the tri state area serving up this age old health cultivating broth. Fall and Winter are perfect seasons to nourish our bones and inner most tissues and cultivate a structure that can support us through whatever life brings us. It's cheap to make and you can make it fit your individual taste. Here's a helpful link that explains in a bit more detail the health benefits of bone broth and also gives easy recipes:
http://nourishedkitchen.com/bone-broth/

If you feel like you're getting a cold, come in for a treatment. We can work to help knock out the cold invading your system. If you've already gotten a cold or flu and are feeling sick, stay home, rest and follow these tips above.