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Three reasons to try Chinese medicine this winter

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By Valerie Schwankl, LAC. MAOM

Whether you are a seasoned patient of Chinese medicine or you are considering trying acupuncture for your first time, there are many benefits to be found in exploring this traditional system of medicine.

Immune Health  

For over 2,500 years acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been used to strengthen immunity and overcome seasonal illnesses. In 2015, a study titled “Acupuncture and Immunity” revealed that numerous acupuncture points have immune modulating effects such as reducing inflammation and increasing circulation to the heart and lungs

Regular acupuncture treatments before, during and after cold and flu season are a great way to keep your immune system strong. Therapies such as cupping and gua sha are often included to help strengthen the lungs and assist with lymphatic and liver detoxification. These treatments are also very effective at relieving tight muscles and achy joints.

Many patients are surprised at how well Chinese herbs work to alleviate uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms such as fever, cough, congestion, and fatigue. There are over 500 commonly used Chinese herbs, many of which have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

The great thing about Chinese herbal formulas is that they are customizable to meet your body’s specific needs. This versatility helps to ensure a more complete and speedy recovery, while restoring a healthy immune system.

Exercise Performance and Recovery

The winter sports season is here. There has never been a better time for a tune up! Did you know that acupuncture increases circulation to muscles and organs? The result is an improvement in exercise performance and recovery time.

Whether you are a competitive athlete who trains regularly or you engage in mild recreational exercise, acupuncture can help you feel and perform your best. Patients often report a decrease in muscle tightness, improvement in range of motion and increased energy after their treatments.

Sports injuries are common this time of year, but they don’t have to keep you down all season. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal liniments improve blood flow to injured areas and relieve pain and stiffness. There are a variety of topical rubs and herbal trauma formulas which work well alongside treatments to decrease healing time and improve mobility. These therapies are also helpful for post-surgical recovery and chronic injuries that flare up.     

Stress Relief

The holidays and end of the year can be a stressful time packed with seasonal activities and travel. Taking one hour out of your day to relax and reset with an acupuncture treatment is a great way to create balance within a busy schedule.

While many people aren’t fond of needles, the experience of receiving acupuncture can be very relaxing. According to “Acupuncture effect and central autonomic regulation,” a 2013 study, acupuncture regulates the autonomic nervous system, which helps the body to rest and repair.

I will often incorporate aromatherapy and acutonics into stress relief treatments. Acutonics uses calibrated tuning forks to transmit sound and vibration into acupuncture points and tight muscles. Sound therapy calms the nervous system and helps the body to release tension. It is not uncommon to fall asleep during a treatment, and many patients report a better night’s rest after these sessions.

If you’re looking for new ways to stay healthy, active and stress-free this winter season, there has never been a better time to explore the benefits of Chinese medicine. It’s a safe, non-addictive and non-invasive way to help you reach your health goals.

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