The Tai Chi Approach to the Cold and Flu Season

Recover Faster From the Common Cold with These Simple Tips

Recover Faster From the Common Cold with These Simple Tips

Tissues, Tea, and Tai Chi: Relief From The Common Cold?
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It never fails. The weather turns cooler and you start to sniffle and before you know it, your nose is redder than Rudolph’s on Christmas Eve and you’re you’re tearing through boxes of tissues faster than you can sneeze!

When I was a kid, I used to get 2-3 severe colds every year. Winter, Summer, Fall, Spring, it didn’t matter. These colds wouldn’t last just a week. Oh no. They would last 2-3 weeks at a time. Imagine spending up to 20% of the year with a sore, red nose, stuffy sinuses, scratchy throat, and having to be within arms reach of a tissue box at all times. Not fun at all.

Over the years, I switched to natural remedies which helped alleviate the severity of the symptoms, but not the frequency or duration. I was still getting colds 2-3 times a year lasting 1-3 weeks. It wasn’t until after I started my Tai Chi training that this started to change. I didn’t notice it at first, but over time, I realized that even though I still got 2-3 colds per year, the severity and duration diminished.

The strongest defense against the common cold is a strong immune system. The basics apply here: eat right, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. Beyond that, there are a few more things you can do when you’re afflicted with the cold:

The Tai Chi Approach to Recovering From the Cold or Flu

Tai Chi

Stress is known to negatively affect our immune system. With a weakened immune system, we are susceptible to germs and viruses making it easy for a cold virus to take up residence in our body. Practicing Tai Chi reduces the effects of stress, strengthening the immune system, and allowing the body to defend itself from those nasty germs and viruses.

Qigong

Following the Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fall is the time to nourish our lungs. There are certain Medical Qigong exercises that specifically strengthen the lungs. Breathing techniques, such as cyclic breathing, power breathing, and cleansing breath help the lungs by improving the capacity of our lungs to promote deeper breathing, the duration of our breath to hold the breath longer, and the quality of the breath to remove toxins in the body.

Food

There’s something to be said for a steaming bowl of chicken soup when you have a cold. For some reason, it works to relieve the symptoms of a cold and make you feel better. But, it’s probably a combination of the steam, the liquid, and the vegetables that work together to do that.

General eating tips while you are sick:

  • Take in plenty of liquids in the form of water, herbal teas, and soups. The liquid will flush toxins.
  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, especially those in season. They contain nutrients your body will use to fend off the illness.
  • Stay away from all alcoholic beverages and products containing alcohol. Alcohol is a poison to the body and it will divert all it’s energies and resources to remove the poison, and not fight the cold virus.

Here are some herbal teas you can make. These are by no means clinically proven (although, there are some scientific indications that there might be something to these natural remedies), I just know that they work for me:

Ginger

Tea brewed from ginger is a common folk remedy for the common cold, sore throat, and nausea. Take some sliced peeled fresh ginger and boil it. You can drink the cooled beverage straight, or add some lemon and honey.

Lemon and Honey

The 1-2 punch (3 if you add the ginger) to help with congestion, sore throat, and sinus inflammation.

Peppermint Tea

A great beverage that soothes! Peppermint soothes the taste buds, soothes the sinuses, soothes the belly, and soothes the spirit.

Sleep

Get plenty of it and more than you think you need. The body repairs itself while you sleep and if you’re sick, that’s important. If you can’t sleep due to sinus or chest congestion, get a vaporizer for your bedroom and put a few drops of peppermint oil and/or eucalyptus oil in the water.

Medication

There are plenty of herbal and homeopathic remedies available on the market. Some will work for you while others won’t – just like allopathic medicine. But these remedies will work with your body’s immune system to overcome the virus. A bit of trial and error may help you narrow down which medicines will work for you. Always follow the directions! Never take more (or less) than what the label recommends.

A cold, whether accompanied by a cough, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, or aches and pains, will take time for the body to fight off the illness. Get plenty of rest, eat well, and take care of yourself. The best way to fight off a cold, is to not get it in the first place. Wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season, and support your immune system. If you do that, maybe you won’t get sick the next time a cold or flu virus is running rampant around you.

Disclaimer: I’m not a Doctor, and I certainly don’t pretend to play one on the internets. Always consult with your Doctor when treating any illness.

Sifu Dale Guadagna

About Sifu Dale Guadagna

Dale Guadagna began his Tai Chi journey in 1998. Encountering job-related stress, he joined The Peaceful Dragon to help manage his chronic stress. Seeing how the Chinese Arts of Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga, and Meditation has helped countless students, including himself, he has devoted his life to teaching these arts. In 2009, with his wife Maricris, they opened Lake Norman Tai Chi Center to serve North Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Cabarrus counties in North Carolina.
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