Some people are ready and some are hesitant. We all have our own comfort levels with the pandemic situation, and no one is right or wrong. Wearing a mask in public is the law – but what else can you do to ensure your system is as strong as possible? What can you do to protect your family? How about a game plan for “re-entry”! Some points may sound redundant or obvious, but it’s good to really understand the power of the basics, plus real talk about preventative care.
Medicine is Anything that promotes healing and Optimizes Health
We use Medicine all the time without thinking about it. Water, Sleep, Food, Rest, Recreation, Exercise – it’s all Medicine in my book. Then there’s therapies that are medicine also. Talk therapy, massage, acupuncture, herbs, nutritional supplementation, chiropractic, drugs. Working with health care providers doesn’t always have to be reserved for illness. We can use many therapies to prevent illness, including acupuncture and herbs!
Let’s look at some basics to cover for at home self-care, and then let’s talk about how acupuncture and herbal therapy fits in to a wellness plan during the pandemic and beyond!
Hydrate, Sleep, Sweat, and Giggle!
Water – Nectar of the Gods
- Ideally, 1 liter per 50 lbs of body weight is what most of us should have in mind as we hydrate. Don’t force water, but if you have a hard time drinking more than 2-4 glasses a day, you may need some assistance rebalancing fluids in your body. We can do that with acupuncture, diet modifications, and herbs. Remember coffee and strong tea will dehydrate, so add a bit extra water to compensate. And adding minerals to purified water is important.
Sleep – Regular, Sufficient, Quality
- Sleep can sometimes slip down on the priority list. There’s lots of workaholics and overscheduled people in our community! But I’ve learned over the years, that sleep is a MAJOR MEDICINE – and it is FREE! You can make it a higher priority. Protect it. Schedule it. In short, make time to get quality sleep. If sleep eludes you, let me help! Acupuncture and/or herbal medicine has been helping people get restful sleep for eons. Staying up too late can also rob you of important restful non-REM sleep, so keep to a decent bedtime too. Keep in mind life before the light bulb!
Exercise – Get sweaty for fun
- Using a guideline of getting your heart rate up so your breathing is more labored for at least 30 minutes 4 times a week, choose something you like to do! Or at least distract yourself from it with something to watch or listen to.
Laughter – really is the best Medicine!
- It’s a cliche for a reason. There’s a bunch of scientific reasons – it decreases stress hormones, increases endorphins, and increases natural killer cell activity hence boosting immunity. So if you are feeling somber, Saturday Night Live, the Carol Burnett Show, and the Simpsons may be just what the doctor ordered! Make a list of what brings you joy, and make a point to fit joy in as much as you can!
- Go Higher – while we’ve always cautioned against doses too high especially of fat soluble vitamins, more research has been coming out. During a pandemic, I recommend going higher on preventative vitamins and minerals. Kids can take half or 1/4 the adult dose of most supplements but always check with your pediatrician.
- Vitamin D – it’s actually very concerning to see WebMD list levels of 20-50 ng/ml as the optimal range, and deficiency being defined as 12 – this is too low! I am concerned when I see my patients’ level below 40-50. To me, 40 is borderline low, yet it’s not uncommon to have patients come in with levels well below 30. I want to see levels between 50-80 ng/ml. The test to ask your doctor for, or that I can help direct you to order, is 25 Hydroxy D, and is a blood test that should be checked annually. Low levels of D have been linked to many chronic illnesses, and several small studies of covid-19 patients indicate a strong correlation between low levels of D with greater severity of symptoms and complications, ironically also sighted on WebMD.
- Vitamin C – controversy and disagreement has surrounded the use of this powerful antioxidant. Yet when taken as a mineral ascorbate in higher doses throughout the day, it is really a useful medicine to prevent illness and to support nearly every metabolic process in the body, from healthy skin, lowering inflammation, supporting gut health, bone health, etc.
- Additional supportive nutrients – zinc, selenium, vitamin A, and licorice root. Even melatonin doubles not only as a sleep aid but a gut support and immune/antiviral support.
- Always – Work with a provider to determine appropriate doses for these and all supplements. I love incorporating nutritional supplementation as needed to enhance healing for my patients!
Overall health translates to robust immunity
Ultimately, we want to prevent disease. Remember – symptoms are how your body communicates needs to your thinking mind. Pay attention to what just doesn’t seem right, whether it’s an old problem or new, and seek support. Prevention includes preventing minor problems from worsening. This is why I love acupuncture and herbal medicine so much – everyone can benefit. It’s not just for illnesses – it’s a great preventative!
Stress is a response in the body that manifests in imbalances of cortisol, neurotransmitters, thyroid hormones, and more. A robust self care routine is critical to reducing effects o f s tress in the body, and ultimately preventing many chronic diseases.
My Top 3 Stress Busters are:
- Meditation – at least 20 minutes a day,
- Sleep – what feels right for you amount-wise, and
- Acupuncture – the healing state brain wave inducer!
What to do if you begin experiencing the symptoms of the virus?
Firstly – don’t panic. Breathe. Rest. Help is available!
With people being told to tough it out at home, and the concern of going to the hospital, my colleagues, across the US and internationally, and I have been preparing to help. I am careful here to not say I treat THE virus. And, I don’t. I treat people experiencing symptoms.
Chinese Medicine is really suited for treating symptoms associated with bacterial and viral infections, as China has endured hundreds of pandemics that have helped shaped the medicine over the centuries. Herbs routinely provide targeted support based on symptoms, and formulas prescribed change rapidly as the symptoms progress rapidly. Examples of how herbal medicine can help include helping the body reduce fever, aid breathing, break up phlegm, and resolve severe body aches.
If you feel like you are coming down with something, I recommend you call or text and we’ll set up a consultation so I can get the information I need to support you! Or if you are ready to up your prevention plan, we can do that on Zoom or in the clinic!