Traditional Medicine Tips for a Covid-Safe New Year
As the 2022 new year is upon us, many are eager to get back to celebrating with our friends and families in the traditional way…in person. This year, getting together is much more feasible as our population gets increasingly immunized, but there are still important considerations to keep ourselves and others as safe and healthy as possible. We, traditional medicine practitioner, recognized that despite these diseases being brought on by external factors, our body’s ability to defend itself was paramount. Tradition Chinese medicine discusses multiple ways to boost immunity (or Wei Qi) including good nutrition, herbs and stress management.
Healthy Nutrition: avoid processed food and excess sugar which contribute to toxic heat in the body. The traditional holiday diet presents a challenge as we are often surrounded by celebratory sweets: pies, cakes and cookies. In this new year, do your best to limit your intake of sugary desserts and if you are doing the cooking, try to cook or bake with less or natural sweeteners, like dates or honey. Cut back on gluten and dairy that can tax the digestive qi, and cause phlegm and stagnation that contribute to weakened immunity. Nourish yourself throughout the season with warm soups, cooked veggies, grass-fed meats, healthy grains and legumes, some seasonal fruit and use organic when possible.
Herbal Tea: Astragalus, known in Chinese Medicine as Huang Qi is used to lift the qi and strengthen our resistance to infection. Drinking an infusion of this herb daily around the holidays can support your wei qi. A popular formula called Jade Screen (Yu Ping Feng San) contains this herb among others and is used to fortify our immunity shield. (Always check with your herbalist to make sure an herb or formula is right for you).
Avoid Stress/ Over-exertion: One of the best ways to deplete your qi and subsequently lower your immunity is with stress and overexertion. Unfortunately, the past holiday season was often jam-packed with stressors and opportunities to burn the candle at both ends. In this new year, learn to say no when necessary and lower expectations that overburden your finances or energy. Make sure to get as much sleep as possible, as, according to Traditional Medicine, the seasonal change from fall to winter requires that we slow down and get more rest.
Of course, follow general covid guidelines when and where possible. Regular hand washing becomes extra important when preparing and sharing meals. Caution with travel, crowded airports, busy shopping malls, and large indoor gatherings is still crucial, especially for those without immunity. And stay warm! Cold is also known to weaken the body's defenses, and our most vulnerable area, according to TCM, is the back of our necks so don’t leave home without your favorite scarf! We can increase our chances of enjoying the new year without the added stress of any infections!
Don’t forget to get in for some acupuncture in this new year to strengthen your body’s resistance to all pathogens and set yourself up for a happy healthy new year!