Acupuncture and Classical Chinese Medicine for the Summer ColdAs summer begins its heated haze, many may suffer beyond the sniffle and sneeze of lingering allergies. Summer colds are more common than some may think as throngs of outdoor admirers swim, shop and saunter en masse bringing germs to doorknobs, pools, airplane cabins, elevator buttons and so many more multi-used surfaces. In addition, germs can fester as air conditioners takeover making for a veritable indoor petri dish that, if not careful, can turn into a repetitive cycle that never seems to heal. The last thing you want to do is suffer with a runny nose, headache, cough and other aches and pains while everyone else you know is taking advantage of summer activities.

Acupuncture and Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) are the perfect one-two punch for treating or preventing a summer cold. By targeting specific acupuncture points and administering proper doses of Chinese herbs, this combination may work wonders beyond over-the-counter remedies.

Often started in the nose, the common cold is usually labeled a rhino-, corona-, or parainfluenza virus that affects the upper respiratory tract. In the summer it is joined by the enterovirus which can be particularly nasty as it not only causes symptoms of sneezing and coughing but because of its intestinal growth, a fecal-to-oral route (especially in children) can cause diarrhea, rashes, sore throats and other challenges beyond the typical winter cold congestion, hacking and slight fever.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there are approximately 62 million occurrences of these viruses per year. In the summer, about 1 in 4 people are exposed creating a chain reaction through contact with the aforementioned surfaces and scenarios, and then some.

Dr. Bruce Hirsch, attending physician for infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. comments,

“The summer cold is really kind of tricky, probably because the viruses that cause it [can be] different [from] a winter cold. Something about it is awful and insidious.Winter cold viruses tend to make you feel really sick, and then you get over it. Summer colds just seem to lurk in the background and just go on and on and on.”

Acupuncture: The ‘Common Cold Points” and CCM Application
Acupuncture and CCM approaches conditions, ailments and diseases from a ‘stuck energy’ perspective rather than a ‘must-mask-the-symptoms’ attempt, as in conventional medicine. In the case of the common cold, each individual offers symptom specifics that can give the greatest clues on how to create a successful protocol. Acupuncture has been found to open up this stuck energy to allow the body to tap into its powerful healing capability to attack interlopers.

A 2004 study entitled, ‘Preventive and Curative Effects of Acupuncture on the Common Cold: A Multicentre Randomized Controlled Trial in Japan’ conducted by researchers at the Japan Acupuncture and Moxibustion Center in Tokyo concluded that,

“A significantly positive effect of acupuncture was demonstrated in the summed questionnaire data, although a highly significant inter-centre difference was observed. Needling on the neck using the Japanese fine needle manipulating technique was shown to be effective and safe. The use of acupuncture for symptoms of the common cold symptoms should be considered.”

The presentation and etiology of various summer cold symptoms, their needling points and CCM application may include:

  • Yang Deficiency – Pale, puffy face; feels cold; swollen tongue with white coating; profuse sweating while still feeling cold; muscle and joint pain with cold sensation. Points: UB 20, 21, LIV 13, SP 3, ST 36. Chinese herbs: Rehmannia root, morinda root, cuscuta, fenugreek, cinnamon bark, water plantain root, reishi mushroom and a variety of Chinese herbs, including jiaogulan, bu gu zhi and shan zhu yu.
  • Yin Deficiency – Evening low grade fever; dry skin, mouth and throat; night sweats; weight loss. Tongue is red and peeled and the pulse is thin and rapid. Points: LI 4, 11, LI 6, CV 22, HT 7, PC 7. Chinese Herbs: Rehmannia, Lycii, Schisandra
  • Qi & Blood Deficiency – Constantly cold; general fatigue; dizziness; shortness of breath; weak voice. This deficiency displays a weak, floating pulse and white coated tongue. Points: LI 4, ST 36, Ren 12, SP 6, 10, PC 6, HT 6, 7, Kid 3, and UB 17, 20. Chinese herbs: gui pi tang (12 herb formula – including ginseng and astragalus), bupleurum, hyacinth bean.
  • Wind Heat – Impairs descending lung functions; sore throat; yellow phlegm; aversion to wind; cough. Tongue has a thin yellow coat and the pulse is rapid and floating. Points: LU 10, 5, LI 44, ST 44, SP 10 and BL 13. Chinese Herbs: lex asprella root, evodia lepta herb, chrysanthemum indicum flower, vitex negundo herb, isatis indigotica root, lonicera japonica flower.
  • Cold on Top of Fire – Feel hot but catch colds; fever; no perspiration; stuffy nose; sore throat; white/yellow phlegm with cough. Points: LU 1, 5, 9. Chinese Herbs: Xing Ren, Gui Zhi (Cinnamon Twig), Ge Gen (Pueraria), Licorice, Qiang Huo (Notopterygium Root), and Zi Su Ye (Perilla Leaf).
  • Summer Heat – High fever; thirst; nausea; dizzy; heavy head. Tongue is yellow with a greasy coat and the pulse is rapid, soft and floating. Points: LU 6, LI 14, SJ 6, SP 9, St 36, BL 13. Chinese Herbs: Xing Ren, Shi GAO (Gypsum), Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena Rhizome), Lu Gen, Niu Bang Zi, Zhe Bei Mu, Jin Yin Hua, Qing Hao (Wormwood), Bo He, Gua Lou (Trichosanthes Fruit), and Licorice.

Visiting a naturopathic doctor and sitting for a full history intake will determine the proper acupuncture/CCM protocol. Never attempt self-administering remedies as there is always the chance of contraindication regarding your specific constitution. Overall, acupuncture and CCM attempt to realign and strengthen various stuck energy to enable the body’s immune system to work at its optimum capacity. This combination has shown, time and again, the potential for slowing, preventing and healing a summer cold.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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