Cold Prevention, Preventive Medicine

Help Your Immune System Roll with the Seasons

As I write this, we in the Mont-Tremblant region are getting our second dose of serious snow for the season.  The skier in me rejoices at the prospect of 20 cm more of the good stuff and the acupuncturist in me says, “It’s time to remind my patients that acupuncture is preventive medicine”.  Indeed, it feels as though we are in the middle of winter but the forecast for the next few days reminds us spring is only a few weeks away.

As the seasons change, our bodies are required to meet the demands of atmospheric shifts and radical fluctuations in temperature.  On their own, weather patterns pose no problem to one’s health but in combination with overwork, poor nutrition, and ever-climbing levels of stress, the change in seasons can actually deliver a knock-out punch to your immune system.  This is why many of us get sick in the spring (as well as the fall) with the flu.

Actually, there is a lot you can do on your own to stay out of the emergency clinics and doctor’s offices.  Some basic guidelines are:

Remember to wash your hands frequently.

Be vigilant about your diet.  Cut down on sugar, a known immune system suppressor, and spend time in the kitchen simmering healthy, homemade soups and stews.

Stay active but avoid exhausting yourself with exercise.

Perhaps one of the most important ways to protect yourself from cold and flu attacks has to do with your ability to cope with stress.  Seriously consider your stress levels as research over the past 30 years has demonstrated a link between chronic stress and suppression of the immune system.   Learn and practice restorative yoga, meditation or Qi Gong, an ancient self healing system, or just make a habit of taking a few moments for yourself to recharge and simply breathe.

Because acupuncture can soothe jagged nerves and fortify and balance the immune system, it is an excellent way to prepare for the changes that any new season brings.  Usually one or two treatments suffice.  The patients I treat often tell me they remain untouched by colds and flu unlike their untreated family members and co-workers who sometimes endure complications such as asthma attacks, or long lasting fatigue and general lack of energy.

The weather forecast for Mont-Tremblant this week predicts a temperature fluctuation of 20 degrees difference between Tuesday evening, and Wednesday afternoon!  Is your immune system ready?


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