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Now it’s beginning to feel a bit like autumn – cooler mornings and nights, clear skies.

TCM says the element of this season is dryness, the sense is that of smell. The organ is the lungs, which rule skin and body hair – or rather,

the opening and closing of the pores. When these are not functioning as well as they could, the cooler weather can lead to us ‘catching cold’ as the ‘wind’ can more easily penetrate. In western medical terms we tend to be more vulnerable to viruses when we are stressed or rundown.

The fruit that can moisturise us internally are pears, as does honey; while the flavour is pungent, for example ginger, which is said to have a dispersing effect. As the associated colour is white, other beneficial foods are daikon – white radish, potatoes, yoghurt. As the skin can become dry at this time, it’s a good idea to moisturise it from within -as well as out – by using coconut oil.

As a child I used to suffer from bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchi in the lungs), and I remember the feeling of needing to be propped up in bed in order to breathe. I was fascinated to learn as an adult that TCM noted that the activity that strains the lungs is that of ‘over-lying’.

During autumn our bodies need to prepare for winter. If you catch cold easily, now is the time to strengthen our immunity. Check out Clare’s special offer to help prevent getting sick when the colder weather arrives.

Strengthening the Immune System through Acupuncture

If you tend to catch colds often or easily, having acupuncture and taking Chinese herbs before the cold weather hits, can change this. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory claims that this happens when our protective surface energy, or ‘wei qi’, is weak, for instance when we are stressed or tired. This allows pathogens – equivalent to bacteria and viruses in western medical terms – to penetrate, where normally they wouldn’t affect us.

Certain acupuncture points and herbs strengthen the Wei qi so this does not happen – this is true preventive medicine. Wei qi is dependent on lung function and controls the pores of the skin, keeping them closed to prevent disease factors getting into our bodies. Studies have shown that acupuncture increases the white blood cells in the body, which are known to fight disease.

The name of one of the most well-known herbal formulas that is used in this case, translates as ‘Jade Wind Screen’ Powder, illustrating its ability to protect the body from viruses. Studies have shown that Astragalus, the main herb of this formula reduces the incidence and shortens the duration of the common cold.

So, even though we are enjoying glorious autumn weather at the moment, during the months preceding winter is the best time to boost your immune system so you don’t get sick when the colder weather arrives. Initially it is best to have weekly acupuncture sessions for a month or so, then continue with regular monthly sessions to support and strengthen immunity.

During April and May, Clare Donnelley has a special offer. Save $35 on the usual cost of the initial acupuncture consult, PLUS receive a free bottle of ‘Yu Ping Feng San’, or Jade Screen Pills.

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