Nutty Squirrel2There is a chill in the air. The days grow shorter. Just as squirrels gather fall nuts for the long winter, we too need to prepare for winter. Seasonal changes affect the immune system. With the wind, rain and snow comes colds, flu and aches and pains. Here are a few tips to staying healthy this winter.

Wash your hands –Studies show one of the reasons we catch colds and flu in winter is that we are indoors and closer to others. Protect yourself by washing your hands regularly and try not to touch your face.

Sleep – The Nei Ching, an ancient Chinese classic, advised people to go to sleep early and rise late after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit. This preserves your own Yang Qi for warming your body in cold weather.

No Stress – According to Chinese medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off. Find a way to relax and de-stress on a daily basis. Stress management may include yoga, meditation, biofeedback,simple relaxation therapy, herbal remedies or acupuncture.

Herbal Medicine – A thousand year old Chinese herbal formula called Jade Windscreen is a handy complement to immune boosting acupuncture treatments. It is made up of just three powerful herbs which combine to tonify the immune system, strengthen the digestive system, and fortify the exterior of the body to fight off wind-borne viruses and bacteria. This handy formula comes in pill, capsule or liquid form and can be taken for a few days each month to stave off colds, flu or when there’s a challenging work-load or sleep loss.

Acupuncture for Prevention- Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help prevent colds and flu by building up the immune system. Inserting needles into just a few acupuncture points can strengthen the circulation of blood and energy, consolidating the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle (Wei Qi) so that germs and viruses cannot enter the body. The ultra-thin needles don’t hurt, are inserted just under the skin, and are removed within ten to twenty minutes. As you transition from one season to another, a visit to your acupuncturist can help keep you healthy in those cold winter months.