Acupuncture for colds and flu

Since the beginning of humankind the cold and flu have had devastating effects on entire populations. Now the coronavirus is making headlines. Although our medical advancements have greatly decreased fatality rates the cold, flu, and the coronavirus can still be deadly. However, if you are in good health, it’s not likely that you will be greatly impacted unless you have low immune function.

In this blog we will take it further from common sense prevention (hand washing, social distancing, disinfect surfaces, etc) and discuss how we can help you boost your immune system to create resiliency.

Acupuncturists are experts in treating pathogens holistically:

We have a lot to say on the matter because China is ground zero for the coronavirus, a place where traditional medicine is the treasure of their civilization. Research as to how herbal medicine and acupuncture can fight coronavirus is well underway with thousands of years of medical wisdom behind them. A text called Shanghan Lun, written 2,000 years ago is considered the oldest complete medical text book in the world is being used in the research. Until the widespread use of antibiotics (1940s) Traditional Chinese Medicine excelled in the treatment of infectious diseases and is one of the most important disciplines of Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s take on the immune system:

Wei Qi is synonymous with your immune system. It is protective qi that circulates between the skin and muscular layer and it is our barrier to pathogens. 2,000 years ago, ancient humans did not have a concept of the network of cells, tissues and organs that make up our immune system, but they still understood that we do have a defense system to external pathogens.

Keeping your Wei Qi or immune system in working order is the best prevention to the common cold, flu, or coronavirus. Many of us are in contact with pathogens every day and will never get sick due to a healthy immune system. If you have signs of a weak immune system it’s important to book an appointment with us. A few appointments can save your sanity and precious PTO.

Signs of a weak immune system:

  •  You get sick frequently
  •  Your wounds are slow to heal
  •  You feel tired all the time
  •  You have chronic digestive troubles
  •  You have skin issues
  •  You have chronic allergies
  •  You have a chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes or an autoimmune disorder.


We will refer you to the Center for Disease Control for a trusted source of prevention tips. We have a few more of our own:

Reduce stress– stress is the biggest destroyer of our immune system. Getting regular acupuncture is an excellent tool in our tool box for stress reduction.

Get adequate sleep– sleep will regenerate your immune system. For night owls, when people around you are getting sick, it’s best to turn in a lot sooner to keep yourself healthy. For those of you dealing with insomnia it’s best to get into to see your acupuncturist.

Eat well– foods high in sugar and grease are toxic to our bodies and creates inflammation. If your immune system has to focus on inflammation it becomes taxed and makes it harder to fight colds and flus. Your diet provides the building blocks for a healthy immune system. Do you know that acupuncture can help with sugar cravings?

Exercise– a moderate heart rate slows down the release of stress chemicals. Lower stress equals a higher immunity.

Talk to you doctor– your doctor can check your lab work, especially vitamin D which plays a huge part in your immunity.

How herbal medicine works:

Chinese Medicine does not place emphasis on viral strains, rather it places an emphasis on the patterns a virus or bacteria causes in the body. The difference between Chinese medicine and Western medicine is that Chinese medicine takes the individual into account instead of taking a one size fits all approach. For instance, someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus may have the common symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but one person may be constipated and one person may have diarrhea. Both have the coronavirus, but acupuncturists would take completely different approaches treating each of their patients.

We know from modern-day medicine that the herbs in these formulas increase your white blood cells, our cells that destroy viruses and bacteria. Huang qi (astragalus) and ren shen (ginseng) are known to increase white blood cells as well as acupuncture points Stomach 36 and Spleen 6.


Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has thousands of years of information and experience in treating infectious diseases. It’s important to have a healthy immune system to combat viruses. Merriam Park Acupuncture can help you boost your immune system with herbal medicine and acupuncture. We get to the root of a low functioning immune system by working on your stress, digestion, sleep, pain, or anything else that may be impacting your health.

Merriam Park Acupuncture offers acupuncture, cupping, Gua Sha and herbal medicine services in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul MN metropolitan area. 

Published: March 8, 2020

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