Consider Alternative Paths to Wellness This Flu Season
As cold and flu season approaches — not to mention the threat of another coronavirus outbreak — it’s more important than ever to take preventative measures to lower your risk of infection and know all of your options for treating symptoms should you come down with some type of virus this fall.
Aside from traditional medical approaches, like nose sprays and antibiotics, there are a host of alternative paths to wellness and healing that are not only good for combating viral infections, but symptoms associated with mold exposure as well.
Covid + Environmentally Unfriendly Home = Dangerous Combination
As an environmental consultant for almost 30 years, Wayne Stock, owner of Stock Environmental Consulting, believes that having a strong immune system, along with an environmentally friendly home this winter, is more critical than ever.
“While there are many aspects to covid and flu that we can’t control, certainly getting yourself in good health could be a huge help,” says Stock. “Keeping your home free of potentially toxic mold strains will be of paramount importance as the prospect of having an unhealthy home — combined with the threat of covid and flu — could be disastrous.”
Prevention is the Name of the Game
Catherine Craig, owner of Evolution Acupuncture in Red Bank, says the first step is to keep from getting sick in the first place. That means boosting your immune health by taking Vitamin C, Zinc and D3 supplements if Vitamin D levels are low. “That’s your basic kit,” says Craig, who has a doctorate in acupuncture and is a board certified and licensed acupuncturist.
Because stress levels seem to be running higher nowadays, Craig also says to be mindful that you’re getting enough sleep, sunshine, fresh air and eating lots of healthy foods, as well as trying to spend time with people you care about. If you’re prone to seasonal allergies that are triggered by pollen levels, you might consider a regular sinus rinse but making sure to follow directions closely to avoid introducing anything unwanted to the respiratory system.
Aside from these measures to try to fight off infection, Craig says there are other methods available that can either be done at home or working with a trained practitioner to boost immunity and combat symptoms associated with illness.
Ancient Methods to Enhance Wellness
According to the Chinese medical model, illness occurs when something blocks or causes the body to become unbalanced, says Craig. Acupuncture is a way to unblock the channel systems that traverse the body and stimulate its innate healing system to restore balance.
When a patient struggling with a bad cough due to an upper respiratory illness or mold exposure comes to her, Craig will begin by palpating the body to help clear the lungs of knots or obstructions as well as damp phlegm so healing can begin. Sometimes she will perform cupping — an ancient practice of putting heated cups on the body to create suction and reduce inflammation and increase blood flow — to help loosen muscles that have tightened from coughing. “It helps release the muscles to let a deep breath in and expectorate the phlegm, which stimulates the immune response,” she says.
At her Red Bank practice, Craig works with pharmaceutical-grade essential oils that she says are best left to qualified aromatherapists who are well versed in what plants are beneficial for which condition. But for those who want to experiment with the soothing properties of essential oils at home, Craig recommends stocking your medicine cabinet with lavender, peppermint, thyme or you can even splurge on more expensive oils like rose and jasmine.
Craig is also a firm believer in the power of good nutrition and says she is constantly tinkering with supplements, herbal remedies, teas and broths to learn what foods are helpful for getting someone moving towards healing. “Not that food has been the cause of the illness,” she says, “but that food can help heal and cure the illness and put someone on track to getting their health back.”
As a preventative measure, going into cold and flu season for general health and wellness, Craig recommends adding garlic and onions for antibacterial and antiviral properties as well as scallions and ginger, which are really powerful to help warm the system and the stomach in particular.
If you suspect an environmental issue in your home such as mold, please contact Stock Environmental Consulting at (732) 383-5190 to discuss whether an inspection is right for you.