Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Swine Flu (H1N1) and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Part 1: Prevention

There is a lot of fear of Swine flu (H1N1) this season, I thought I'd take a moment to give our take on Swine Flu, flu in general, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

This post got very long, so we decided to do it as a series this week, and break it into parts.

Today will be:

Part 1: Prevention: Keeping the body's immunity strong

The rest of the week you will see:

Part 2: Recovery and Swine Flu: What to do if You Get the Flu
Part 3: Chinese Herbal Medicine and Swine Flu: A Review of Some of the Best Herbal Formulas and Supplements to Keep you Healthy and Strong
Part 4: Fermented Vegetables: The Way to Health

We hope you enjoy this series. If there is anything specific you'd like to see addressed, either about Swine Flu or any other condition, please comment below or send an email to BirchCenter@gmail.com.


Part 1: Prevention


Much of the hype and fear around this flu has thankfully settled down, as it turns out this flu does not seem to be any more deadly than any other flu. If you are in good health, your chances of coming down with the flu are decreased, and your rate of recovery is faster.

Please do not feel the need to rush out and get the vaccine. This vaccine contains mercury in the form of thimerisol (preservative), and has not been widely tested. For more information with a cautionary view of vaccines, please check out 9 Reasons not to Give Your Child Get the H1N1 Vaccine by Dr. Mercola, and at the end of this post is an interview with an MD (on Fox news) cautioning against this vaccine.

In Chinese Medicine, flu and colds are considered an invasion of the body of external pathogens, usually cold or heat. Cold often turns to heat in the body, and we have signs of sore throat, fatigue, achiness, cough, and stuffiness.

When our body's Qi (Energy) - especially Wei Qi (Immune Energy) is strong, we are able to fight off these invasions. The energy pathways responsible for keeping the Qi strong are the Digestive energy and Lung Energy (which controls the Wei Qi.)

To keep our Qi strong and prevent the flu and common cold:

  • Eat a Healthy Diet, full of fresh raw fruits and vegetables

  • Cut out sugar, especially white and brown sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. These lower our immunity

  • Wash your hands frequently with regular soap and water (here is why we do not recommend anti-bacterial soap)

  • Get outside in the fresh air. Take walks and expose yourself to sunshine (Vitamin D).

  • Acupuncture - Acupuncture is fantastic to strengthen the entire body, balance energy, and strengthen the Qi and Wei Qi. Even if someone does not have other symptoms, they can still use acupuncture to help boost their immunity. Also, when someone is coming in for other symptoms, the balancing of the body done during acupuncture will impart an increase in immunity, even if that is not what we are working on specifically during the treatment.

    To schedule an acupuncture appointment, or come in for a free 20-minute consultation (with no obligation) please call (412)381-0116, or email BirchCenter@gmail.com.

  • Herbal Medicine and Supplements to keep immune system strong. We carry quite a few Chinese herb formulas at the Birch Center to strengthen immunity and keep one strong, including:

    • Immune Renew, which contains the Chinese herb astragalus and medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Maitaki

    • Four Gentleman - a classic herb formula to keep the Qi strong

    • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a combination of ginseng and astragalus, used in specific cases to strengthen the body's Qi


Additional Ways Keep Digestion Strong, which will in turn keep the whole body's Qi, including Immunity, strong:

  • Fresh Raw Foods, which are full of natural enzymes

  • If trouble digesting foods, can take enzymes with food

  • Bao He Wan is an excellent Chinese herbal formula to help with digestion, especially if there is a feeling of fullness, bloating, gas and slow digestion after eating (we also carry this at the Birch Center.)

  • Fermented Vegetables

  • Probiotics: supplements, yogurts, kefir, fermented/cultured veggies, miso

  • Acupuncture to Strenghten Digestion: Control Points such as Spleen 6 and Stomach 36 keep the digestion strong and flowing


Please check back on Thursday for Part 2: Recovery: What to do if you find yourself sick with the flu this season.

Here is the video of an MD explaining why he would NOT give his own children the H1N1 vaccine:



If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, we would love to hear from you. Please give us a call at (412) 381-0116 or email BirchCenter@gmail.com.

To purchase any of the formulas mentioned, please call our office at (412) 381-0116. You may stop by Monday through Thursday, but please let us know first, that way we can make sure someone is there to help you.

Thanks so much!

~ Melissa and David Sokulski
Acupuncturists
Birch Center for Health

(412) 381-0116