Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie...I love this time of year. Now that the new season is almost upon us, however, I am starting to see the inevitable wave of patients complaining of allergies and colds. Since this season strongly affects the Lung energy, it is important to build and protect the Lung qi through acupuncture and lifestyle choices. Deep breathing exercise will tone up the Lungs, so be sure to take some time out of your day to focus on your breaths. Exercise is important; however, exercise in outdoor conditions of cold, rain, or snow can increase your chances of getting sick. Stick to indoor exercise on these days. Also, be sure that you are covered up-in particular, take care to cover up the back of your neck. This is an area that is vulnerable to the invasion of pathogens.
Stick with warmer foods at this time to balance out the external cold. If possible, drink your water warm. Increase your intake of warm or spicy foods, such as soups and stews. I felt a cold coming on a few weeks ago, and managed to ward it off with a delicious concoction of "warm" foods and spices: I sauteed fresh ginger root with cinnamon, a dash of cayenne, and honey. I ate a few spoonfuls before bed, and when I woke up my cold symptoms were completely gone. I also slept especially well that night, although I'm not sure if that was connected to this concoction or not.
And again, I will reiterate that acupuncture is a powerful form of preventative medicine. Even if you are not specifically coming in because you feel a cold coming on, your treatment will build your immune system. It's a lot easier (and more pleasant) to prevent a cold than to treat one, so come in for a visit before you actually get sick!