At this time of year, many people suffer from coughs, colds, and the flu. Unfortunately, it seems as if there is not a whole lot you can do to treat these conditions other than wait, rest up, and medicate yourself with over-the-counter remedies.
However, if you have a little knowledge of Chinese medicine, you will know that there is actually more that you can do to relieve your cough or cold symptoms, and help to speed up your recovery too. One of these things is tui na (acupressure) massage.
What is Tui Na Massage?
Tui na massage is a traditional Chinese therapy based on the principles of acupuncture. It uses elements of massage and acupressure to treat a wide variety of conditions including acute or chronic pain, headaches, women’s issues, and more.
But can massage really help with the symptoms of a common cold? According to Chinese medicine, it certainly can!
How Does Tui Na Massage Work for Coughs and Colds?
We know that coughs, colds, and flu are caused by a virus which enters our bloodstream, causing our immune systems to kick in. This triggers a series of chemical reactions within our bodies, leading to inflammation and the classic cold symptoms of a sore throat, runny nose, and aches and pains. When we produce too much mucus, it can also irritate our lungs, leading to a nasty cough.
In ancient China, doctors did not have access to microscopes, and so they did not understand bacteria and viruses in the way that we do today. They blamed infectious illnesses on environmental factors such as heat, cold, dampness, and wind. They believed that if these factors were allowed to enter the body, disease would soon occur. These environmental factors are commonly known as external pathogens, or external causes of disease.
Although these doctors understood the body in a very different way from modern scientists, they did understand how to treat many different illnesses which conventional medicine finds difficult to cure. The common cold is a great example of this. When a patient arrived at the doctor’s clinic with the symptoms of a cold, the doctor would treat them with massage and other therapies such as cupping or scraping in order to expel the external pathogen.
Although they did not know it at the time, these doctors were stimulating their patient’s immune system, allowing them to interrupt the inflammatory process and speed up recovery. They would often concentrate on points located on the upper back, massaging them vigorously to stimulate the body’s natural defenses.
In China, it is widely believed that if you get treatment as soon as your cold or flu symptoms appear, then you may be able to stop it from developing further. However, the benefits of tui na massage for coughs and colds does not end there!
Tui Na Massage for Cough and Cold Symptom Relief
If you are unlucky enough to be hit with an infection, you will want to do everything you can to feel better fast. Fortunately, tui na massage and Chinese medicine can help in a number of different ways.
If you have a blocked up nose, massaging the area around your sinuses can really help to get things moving. There are many acupuncture points on the face which can be pressed or rubbed to relieve symptoms such as stuffiness, difficult breathing, and headaches (these points work well for other types of rhinitis too!).
If you feel stiff and achy, tui na massage can help with that as well. It can help to relax your muscles and relieve tension, as well as reducing local inflammation and pain.
Finally, if you have a cough, tui na massage or cupping could help to open up your chest and shift stubborn mucus, allowing you to breathe easily again. Just remember, if you have a cough which lasts for more than three weeks, or if you are coughing up a lot of dark or green mucus, see your physician as soon as you can – there is a good chance you may have a chest infection.
In addition to massage and cupping, your acupuncturist may recommend that you take some Chinese herbs to give you an energy boost and help you to recover more quickly. In the meantime, wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot liquids, and look after yourself. You are sure to feel better soon!