There’s a chill in the air that sinks right into your muscles and bones. In Chinese Medicine, this Cold itself is a pathogen which needs to be expelled out of the body. You might feel it as stiffness, aching, tensing, and feeling cold. Or, you might “catch a cold” and get sick. Prevent a future invasion by keeping your body warm and your circulation flowing. There are many easy ways to do this.
1. Bundle up. There are “wind gates” on the neck that need to be protected from wind, which carries the cold right into our bodies. The wind gates are areas that are especially vulnerable to an invasion of wind. They are also the acupuncture points we use to lead the pathogen back out. There are also some wind gates on the arms and legs, especially around the joints. If you are prone to joint stiffness, be sure to keep these areas warm and safe.
2. Eat warming foods. Spice blends like pumpkin pie and chai tea contain medicinal warming herbs like cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and anise. Soups containing garlic, onions, and ginger invigorate your circulation and protect you from the potentially damaging effects of cold. A mild Thai or Indian curry or a bowl of pho can also do the trick. In the winter, don’t order anything too hot. The key is to deeply warm the body, not break a sweat. These foods are also cozy, and nourish our spirits as well.
3. Build heat from within. I use many warming methods in my treatments, especially in the winter. The treatment table is warm and the TDP lamp radiates a warming glow over you like being on the beach. I also use moxibustion to directly warm the body. There are many ways to do this, from burning the medicinal herb close to the body, or using it in the form of an herbal tincture in combination with the TDP lamp. Doing yoga, pilates, tai qi, and qi gong stoke the fire of your inner furnace and circulate the natural warmth of your core out to your extremities. Always inhale and exhale from your nose when you want to build heat. Stoke your inner fire with Bellow’s Breath. Try this instructional video from Yoga International https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4nf-NISmJw.
4. Have a light sweat if you are coming down with a cold. A hot bath and some strong fresh ginger tea can be used to induce a very light sweat, which is an excellent way to remove cold from your body if you are getting sick. For the ginger tea, chop up a couple inches of fresh ginger root and mash them a bit with the knife to release some juices. Simmer this in a couple cups of water for 20 minutes, covered. You can take a nice hot bath while this cooks, and make sure to bundle up when you get out. Add organic citrus peel (orange, lemon, or lime) and simmer another 10 minutes. Strain, add honey if desired. Drink after it cools a bit.