Every winter, it’s always a challenge to avoid getting the flu that is going around in the office, or that cold at your child’s daycare. Especially when your immune system is low, that cold or flu can become so persistent that you “just can’t shake it”. Since flu season is not quite over, considering taking steps to strengthen your immune system and / or help kick the sickness quicker. Some symptoms include fatigue, stuffy nose, sinus headache, swollen lymph nodes, persistent cough and sore throat, sleep & digestive disturbances and sometimes fever & chills. In Chinese Medicine, this “soldiering on” behaviour depletes the body’s qi & yin, which are essential components for maintaining a strong immune system. Hence the illness or pathogen moves deeper into the body resulting in a persistent symptom.
Aside from ample rest, some natural remedies might include Vitamin C, Echinacea, oil of oregano (do not take for a long period as it is “hot” in nature), Cold Fx (American ginseng, great for that lingering cough) or simply some lemon-ginger-honey tea. Another home remedy is Acupressure which entails applying pressure on Acupuncture points.
Below are a list of acupressure points that you can stimulate yourself when catching the cold or flu. Press each point for approximately one minute, 1-3x / day. A stronger treatment would involve acupuncture on these points for quicker recovery. In the meanwhile, acupressure will suffice.
For a stuffy nose , sinus headache or sinusitis:
This point lies in the infraorbital foramen, below the eyeball. Gently massage the area for 30-60 seconds avoiding the eyeball. This point helps open up your sinuses so that you can breathe better.
This point is located at the centre of the eye brow. Stimulate this point in a pumping manner (press-release-press-release) for approximately 1 minute. This point helps alleviate the tension that can build up from blocked sinuses.
Large Intestine-20 (LI-20)
This point is located just lateral to the ala nasi, in the nasolabial sulcus (the crease line that forms when you smile). Stimulate this point similarly to “Yu Yao”. This point helps open up your sinuses so that you can breathe better.
This point is located on the forehead, one thumb-width above the midpoint of the eye brow. This point is great for any headaches, especially from blocked sinuses. Apply firm deep strokes of pressure in a downward direction for approximately 1 minute.
Other important points:
This important point is a command point for the face and mouth meaning that it is great for any pain in the head, such as frontal headaches, neck pain, sore eyes, toothache, nasal obstruction, sore throat, plugged ears. This point is located on the dorsum of the hand in between the 1st & 2nd metacarpal bones, at the midpoint of the 2nd metacarpal bone. Massage the point gently & perpendicularly with the thumb of the opposite hand for approx 30 seconds to 1 minute.
This point is 2 finger-breadths from the wrist’s transverse crease between the brachioradial muscle & tendon of long abductor muscle. Use the thumb of the opposite hand and gently apply pressure in small rotations while supporting the wrist. Continue to apply pressure for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This point is also a command point for the head and neck good for treating headaches, migraines, neck rigidity, cough, asthma, sore throat, toothache, wrist pain and any Lung-related problems.
To locate this point, bend the knee 90° and measure 3 finger-breadths from the lower tip of the knee cap downwards. You will be able to feel a pointed bone at this level on the lateral side of the tibia (1 finger-breadth from the anterior crest of the tibia). This is a great point for the overall boosting of the immune system helping with gastric pain, vomiting, hiccup, abdominal distention, diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. Apply firm deep strokes of pressure in a downward direction for 1 minute.
This point is located at the centre of the forearm, 2 thumb-widths above the wrist crease in between the tendons of the flexor carpi radialis & palmaris longus. This point is considered the “anti-nausea” point. You may have seen people wearing a wrist band on the plane or on a boat. These bands are made for applying acupressure on this specific point. If you have a queezy stomach, this is an excellent point to stimulate. Simply apply gentle pressure and massage for 30 seconds to 1 minute.