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In this post, I continue the thread from my recent article on avoiding getting sick. Here I mention more subtle techniques for combating illness as well as what to do if you find yourself run down and getting sick. As I mention in my first article, I am not in any way shape or form a doctor, a dietitian or a licensed health practitioner, so do not take my words very seriously. And do not act on them without speaking with your health professional. Okay, with that little disclaimer out of the way, on with the show.
Readers might be wondering why I spend so much time on this subject or have so many various remedies or suggestions for combating illness. Several reasons: I consider my constitution to be on the poorer side, and when I get sick, like most people, I am miserable. And previously as an impoverished, part-time-self-employed college student, I did not have the luxury of health insurance benefits from a job (I do now) and I could not afford to be down and out for very long. Plus, as a healing facilitator I need to model the practice of good self care for my clients. And finally, I tend to get cold sores when my immune system is compromised, which I detest, so staying well has the added benefit of appearing healthy. All the reasons to attempt to stay well.
I want to mention for the record that I am an unusually sensitive Pisces. And this sensitivity extends to nearly all facets of my life, including extreme sensitivity to pharmaceutical drugs and chemicals of any sort. Therefore, I tend toward the subtler homeopathic / holistic / flower essence / essential oil remedies first, and then, only as a last resort would I take antibiotics or another prescription drug. Prescription / pain medicines / chemicals tend to have the opposite affect on me, hence my alternative perspective. Okay, now back to the combating illness story.
Two things are of utmost importance when you discover you are sick. One is obvious – rest! Your body needs time to integrate new changes as well as to adjust to changes in the environment – both within and without. Second, which *seems* obvious to most, but you’d be surprised, is to avoid that which is making one sick. For instance, if you are the type of person who typically has a strong constitution, and then you start a new romantic relationship and things start to go downhill health-wise… well then you might want to reconsider that relationship. Or if you have the option of pushing really hard for a promotion, which might entail working through some colds, maybe you can re-analyze – is it really necessary? It is important to know the signs that your body is depleted or overwhelmed and not push too hard. Otherwise the opportunity cost of not slowing down may be enormous.
Recently, I noticed symptoms of sickness arising, which made some sense – I had eaten a lot of dairy the previous evening plus I had been pushing myself hard at work, etc – but the desire to just lie in bed for hours on end was unusual. So I asked the I Ching about the situation, and it came back with Kua 28 – Ta Kuo – Pressure on Structure, Braced against Collapse, Under Pressure, “Too Much.” In other words, I was depleted and I had not recognized it. So I lay in bed for nearly two days straight, toward the end of which time I felt much more lively and enthusiastic – I got my lemony laughter back. So rest when you need to!
If you must push through something, as many of us feel the need to do, then you can try Chinese Herbs. In Whole Foods or another health food store, you can find the herbal mixture of Cold Snap. This beautiful little product raises what is known as the royal chi (prana) and you will have several hours of feel good time. You may notice feeling more energetically full and alive, but I would not recommend pushing it for multiple days on end. For instance, if you take the recommended dose on the first day and then go through a full day, later you will need to rest. The next day, if you are still feeling yucky, then listen to your body. In other words, if cold snap kicks the cold initially great! (It did its job.) If not, then don’t become reliant on it. **Many doctors will warn you, appropriately so, about the dangers of chinese herbs – so make sure you do some research and make sure the brand is a good one or the herbalist selling you the herbs is very trustworthy and experienced. And of course listen to your doctor.
You may also want to experiment with a homeopathic flu remedy. I have a friend in herb school who mixes a brilliant flower essence / flu remedy for me which works wonders. You might want to consider speaking with a Homeopathic Physician (a doctor who specializes in homeopathic medicine). They are few and far between but quite worth your time when you find a good one. In Charlottesville, we have George Guess, Md. who is a proficient practitioner.
Use a neti pot – but avoid the “dangers.” For everyone who might not know, a neti pot is a device from India, which is simple to use and very practical, in addition to being a great tool for staying healthy. A neti pot is a little container which holds warm saline water which you use to wash out your nasal cavities and sinuses. Basically you run the warm water through your nose for several minutes. Of course avoid the dangers of using it wrong (the worst thing you can do with it is to get some fluid in your inner ear possibly causing an infection, but otherwise, it is harmless) and make sure you know what you are doing ahead of time, which reminds me of a story…
A friend of mine is a Tibetan Buddhist monk (from Puerto Rico). He told me of the first time he used a neti pot, which I will never forget. He said that he did not know what he was doing, and that the sounds of his gurgling and sputtering (drowning) in the bathroom were so intense that his roommate called the ambulance thinking he was in serious trouble. Moral of the story is to not breath through your nose as you are using the neti pot. (And let your housemates know that you are using it…) You definitely want to avoid that!
If you feel yourself becoming worn down or notice flu-like symptoms coming on, you can steam using essential oils. Again, just as a reminder, I am not a doctor or in any way licensed to dispense advice, so please check with your health professional before trying any of these techniques. However, this one really helps you feel better (and the worst thing that can happen is that you use too much oil and getting slight heated / flushed sensation on your skin)! The way this works is to buy a quality essential oil (you don’t need much – see below). Then boil a sauce pan full of water – filtered / purified water is best but tap water works just fine. Put down a towel on the table where you plan to steam, making sure you have the space to lean over the pot, which will go on the towel. Then put in two or three drops of your oil – the Young Living Oil blend of Thieves works best, but peppermint, rosemary, basil, thyme, clove or cinnamon oils work fine (any oil that is an antiseptic *** see end of article for a complete list). Put a towel over your head which will also cover the pot of steaming essential oils (to trap the vapors for you to breathe in) and now lean over your pot of healthy vapors and breathe deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. If you put in too much oil, then, depending on the oil, your skin might burn a little – no problem (just add less in the future).
I found another great tool for recharging / rejuvenating about five years ago. Now you might laugh at this, but if you are still reading by this point, then you will enjoy this suggestion: lie down on an amethyst bio mat. Seriously. Nothing improves my health faster than lying on my mat. It uses the contemporary technology of far infrared waves to penetrate deeper into the body, it is heated in a completely safe fashion and it produces negative ions which are very health promoting. I purchased the mat initially for my clients to lie on, considering I offer professional bodywork, but then I found myself lying on it whenever I felt run down or coming down with something. During the first couple years of owning it, I would occasionally sleep on my mat. Nowadays, it starts to fill me with energy pretty quick, such that I am not able to lie on it for more than two hours tops. I am a distributor of these incredible health tools (they are expensive but well worth it). You might be able to find a used one on Ebay but they go quick and even in this case they still run about a $1000. I think I will publish a short post on this topic soon, as this little blurb does not do the mat justice.
Attend a doctor who understands alternative theory / practice. In other words, attend a doctor who understands that there is a strong reciprocal connection between physical health and mental health and that there are numerous treatment options. If you talk to your physician about an alternative option which you are seriously considering, and you simply get a blank stare, as in you just lost him / her, then you may want to consider looking around for a second opinion. That might not be a bad idea anyway. 🙂
Last but certainly not least, everyone would do well to speak with a Professional Astrologer who is skilled in working with the intricacies of Medical Astrology. This way you can determine what type of person you are (Saturnian, Jovial, Mercurial, etc) – as in what are the major aspects in your birth chart and what, if any, affect do they have on your health? You can determine much from your astrology chart, just in the realm of health and wellness.
Okay! Thank you for reading and sticking with me. Again, if you have gotten to this point, that means that you are open minded and that you care about your health enough to hear all my alternative ideas. Let me know if you have any comments and I hope one or more of these provides benefit!
List of essential oils with antiseptic properties (what I mention above plus):
One thought on “Flu season – once sick, what to do?”
How true… in oriental medicine, it is a well known fact that the doorway to disease is through the “openings” – mouth and nose. I find the Neti Pot as the single most useful device to keep these doorways fortified and reduce the incidence of disease and infection. In fact, I read thorough information on neti at http://www.jalanetipot.com before daring to venture out…. have been mighty glad I did 🙂