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Health Tips from HYA’s resident Chinese Medicine Expert

By March 9, 2020No Comments

Chinese medicine for Immune Protection and why sweating is so important!

With much of the world concerned about the latest viral illness (Corvid-9 / Corona) spreading, is it important for us to do what we can to keep our immune system amped up. Ironically as China was the source of this outbreak it may also hold the keys to preventing its spread. Chinese Medicine has a long history of treating and preventing what we in the west refer to as viral diseases. In Chinese Medicine viral conditions are associated with wind. They move quickly, change directions suddenly and can disappear as quickly as they arrived.

sarah fields asheville acupuncture

We have recently reviewed the reports from the Chinese Medicine Hospitals that have been key in lessening the impact of this new virus. The treatment success in China has been the highest in people who are being treated with both a western and eastern medical approach. Chinese Medicine views the body with a profoundly different lens than western medicine. The body is viewed as a series of energetic rivers that influence the physical health of the body. If the rivers of the body are clean and flowing the cells of the body are strong and the organs are in balance.

When dealing with “Wind Invasion” based disease there are several energetic factors that are the most important to help prevent getting sick.

Rest- Making sure you have been sleeping enough to recharge your batteries (the kidneys are the batteries of the body in Chinese Medicine). Rest is very important to allow the body to detoxify and regenerate.

Exercise– Moderate exercise tones the lungs and cleanses the lymphatic system. The lungs control the air that enters and exits the body. Healthy lungs and mucosa will catch pathogens expelling them before they move deeper. Exercises like YOGA, tai chi and qi gong are best. They all wring out the fascia of the body allowing for the smooth flow of energy in our bodies. They also help reduce stress leaving the body more resources to deal with new toxins faster. Chinese Medicine hospitals in China are teaching qigong classes for both prevention and faster recovery for people who have already contracted the virus.

Remineralization– In order for the kidneys to have the power they need to energize the immune system proper intake of minerals, vitamins and electrolytes is critical. The kidneys manage the loss or savings of electrolytes like sodium and potassium. It’s a good time to replenish your body by taking electrolytes, trace minerals, zinc, magnesium and vitamins B’s, C & D.

Hydration– Staying hydrated is always important to allow the body to cleanse it self. This leads us to one of the most important thing we can do t

o to prevent illness. When our rivers are full of fresh clean waters we can more easily clean out the crud when it arrives. Dehydration causes sticky mucus buildup in all tissues of the body. It is a lot harder to expel toxins from sticky mucus than mucus that is thin and flowing.

Sweating– In Chinese Medicine theory sweating is the first line of defense in any wind (virus) based disease. When we sweat we detoxify our body through our pores,”Releasing the Exterior” we call it,  cleaning out many metabolic wastes without taxing the circulatory or lymphatic systems. Sweating literally causes the energy of the body to move outward. This positive pressure of physical material leaving the body prevents pathogens from entering. Pathogens would have to fight against the powerful outward flow to enter. Any pathogens that have begun to enter will be swept outwardly. Interesting enough all of the heavy hitter Chinese herbs that are being prescribed to combat this Corvid-9 target the release of neck and shoulder tension because this is where all the ‘wind gate’ acupuncture points and wind meridians are located. In other words this is where the ‘wind disease” enters us. So if you don’t have access to the herbs SWEATING and yoga w neck release stretching is the best thing for always and especially right now.

Herbs– Herbal medicine is a huge component in Chinese Medicine. There are many herbs that can be helpful in keeping our immune system firing on all cylinders. If you are not already sick herbs like Astragalus, Elderberry, Atractylodes and Mushrooms like Reshi, Lions Mane and Turkey Tail all help boost the immune system. Once you are feeling even the slightest bit under the weather (especially if you start feeling a little cold), Cinnamon, Ginger, and onion can help induce sweating. These herb also help fight off cold energy. One can take fire cider a mix of hot herbs to beat out any cold pathogens. If you are feeling unwell and slightly on the warmer side herbs like Mint, Echinacea, Chrysanthemum, and Kuduz. Elderberry is safe to take in all phases of wind (viral) illness. It is both preventative with high levels of anthocyanins (Colorful constituents that have antioxidant properties) and has been shown in studies to have a strong antiviral effect. Lessening the strength and duration of viral illnesses.

Acupuncture– Acupuncture treatments are especially helpful in the prevention phase. Making sure all of the energetic rivers in the body are clean and in harmony with each other.  Acupuncture can help you by reducing stress, improving sleep and boosting your immune system. Acupuncture can also help regulate the digestion allowing the body to break down pathogens more effectively.  Make sure your body is in balance before you get sick.

– The mind is the center of our world and if we let fears or stressors rule our whole being can suffer. In Chinese medicine we say the “5 emotions” are the internal cause of disease.  It is important during any global panic to take a few minutes a day to still ones mind and focus on the breath. Taking deep breaths and stilling the mind can help reduce stress. Take some time out of your day to count your blessings in life. Many of us live with many privileges for which our ancestors would only have dreamed of. Running water, warm homes, food on the table, loving relatives, friends and partners etc. If we can focus on the positive in our life we can reduce the impact of daily stresses in our life. Stress impacts the immune system. If we are hopeful we generate more immune cells and produce less stress hormones for our body to process. Another great reason to make it to YOGA.

If you would like any more detailed information, consultation, emotional stress support please don’t hesitate to reach out to

Sarah Fields has taught Bikram Yoga for 15 years and avid detox specialist. She has practiced Chinese medicine for 8 years and has 2 clinics in Western Carolina. Her loving partner Chris Jacobs also a TCM practitioner is the wonderful co-author of this article.