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Modern Innovation and Ancient Wisdom
By Peter Games, L. Ac.

Acupuncture Treatment for the Common Cold & Sinus Pain - Boise IdahoWith the multitude of scientific breakthroughs and achievements that we have realized as a society, we have yet to find a cure for the pesky common cold or flu, a fact which may seem slightly alarming in light of the highly publicized bird flu scare. Influenza, also called seasonal flu or simply the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a variety of flu viruses which often results in fever, headaches, and extreme exhaustion. The common cold is also caused by viruses, although it usually has milder signs and symptoms than the flu. Bird flu (avian influenza) is an infection caused by viruses which occur naturally among birds worldwide. Wild birds carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, bird flu is very contagious and in domesticated animals (chickens, ducks, turkeys) can cause serious illness or death.

According to the World Health Organization, between 2003 and 2007 there were about 350 confirmed cases worldwide of human infection from bird flu, resulting in over 200 deaths. Most cases of bird flu in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry (domesticated chickens, ducks, turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretions or excretions from infected birds. The spread of bird flu viruses from one ill person to another has also been reported, but rarely.

In Chinese medical theory, the flu and the common cold are looked at in a slightly different light. At the time that Chinese medicine came into being, nothing was known about viruses, or even bacteria or fungi for that matter. But of course, the common cold as well as many other types of infections did exist just as they do today, and they were categorized as invasions of a pathogenic or pernicious influence. Although the culprit was not specifically identified as a virus, it was recognized that there was some pathogen which invaded the body. The invasion was said to be the result of exposure to the particular pathogenic influence, or climatic factor, in question.

So for example, today we often say that an individual can “catch a cold”. In Chinese medicine however, one can not only “catch a cold,” one can also catch a heat or a wind or a damp or a dry. These pathogenic influences (cold, heat, wind, damp, dry) enter the body via the skin, specifically through the pores of the skin, and attack the lungs.

Alternative Medicine & Acupuncture in Boise Idaho - Exercise (Skiing)This concept emphasizes the importance of dressing warmly to reduce exposure during cold, windy, or rainy weather. Further, since a pathogenic influence enters through the pores of the skin, an individual is more susceptible to get sick when the pores are open, or when perspiring. So on a cold, windy day, if exercising outdoors or going outdoors immediately after exercising indoors, it is extremely important to dress properly to protect against climatic factors. While sweating or shortly after sweating there is an increased likelihood that pathogenic factors such as wind and cold can enter through the pores, which are wide open.


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