Coughs and colds ahoy ...

Autumn is the season of the Lungs and the Large Intestine . At this time of year, the Lungs in particular are vulnerable to attack, and we can all too easily fall victim to those coughs and colds that are such a feature of the season.

If you ask anyone what you might have acupuncture for, most people will answer 'back ache', but perhaps less well known is how effective it can be in expelling cold viruses.

Primarily treatment concentrates - surprise, surprise - on the Lung meridians. However, it may also include treating the Large Intestine meridians, the organ coupled with the Lungs in Chinese Medicine. Needles are of course used, but if the cold is in its infancy, an acupuncturist may choose to use cupping on the back too. This practice of placing glass vacuum cups onto the skin can literally draw the pathogen out of the body. Sound strange to you? Well, cupping for coughs and colds isn't exclusive to China, but is a common and accepted treatment in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures too.

Another method of expelling any unwanted visitors is to combine acupuncture with a technique called gua sha. This technique involves the firm scraping of the skin of the upper back with the rounded edge of a flat gua sha tool. The scraping action brings the blood to the surface and, in doing so, draws out the pathogen.

So don't rush straight to the pharmacist if you feel your throat getting scratchy, and find yourself sneezing and your muscles aching. Acupuncture, coupled with cupping and/or gua sha, can deal with your cold as well as any over-the-counter remedy.

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