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Can Acupuncture Prevent Colds and Flu?

By: Marc Sklar, DA, LAc, MSTOM

With the shortage of the flu vaccine this season, what can you do as an alternative? The flu vaccine has begun to be rationed leaving people scared that they might catch the flu this season. The flu vaccine is not the only method available to treat the symptoms of the flu. Since the 17th century Oriental Medicine has been treating flu like symptoms with success. Adults and children do not have to worry about missing valuable time at work or school because Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can not only help prevent the flu, but can also help treat the illness once symptoms have begun to appear. Traditionally patients are seen four times a year, at the change of seasons, to increase immunity to the ever changing environment.

How does acupuncture work to prevent the flu?

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine helps to prevent the flu by simply strengthening the body’s immune system. Each person has an underlying constitutional weakness that leaves their body weak and exposed in one area or another. This inherent weakness can lead to some people catching colds and flu. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine works by strengthening each person underlying weakness thus boosting their immune system. Where allopathic medical doctors use vaccinations to inject a variation of the virus into a person to immunize them from the illness, thus boosting the immune system, Oriental Medicine uses acupuncture and herbal medicine to prevent illness and boost the immune system. Studies have shown that certain blood counts and immune enhancing chemicals stay elevated for at least 3 days following an acupuncture treatment.

What are acupuncture treatments like?

Acupuncture treatments last approximately 30 minutes. During this time thin needles will be placed in various locations of the body (arms, legs, and back). These needles will remain in the body for approximately 20-30 minutes. Unlike the needles used to give injections, the ones used in acupuncture treatments are extremely fine, only 2 times the width of a single hair. Acupuncture needles are designed to enter the skin with the least resistance. Most clients are surprised to discover that treatments involve little or no pain, and are usually quite relaxing.

How often do I have to come in?

On average most adults need to be seen four times a year at the change of seasons to increase immunity to the changing environment. When it relates to the seasonal flu, four treatments are needed to strengthen the immune system. Depending on each individual, these treatments might occur a week apart or a month apart. It is important to receive treatment prior to feeling the symptoms of the flu, as this makes treatment easier and more effective.

Prevention verses presenting with symptoms?

Prevention is the key to everything and Oriental Medicine is no different. Patients will benefit much more from being treated prior to the onset of flu symptoms. However, if symptoms due being to arise, then immediate treatment is imperative. The key to effective treatment is early intervention. The sooner treatment is received for flu-like symptoms the faster and more effective treatment is.

Do the treatments differ for children verses adults?

The treatment of adults and children is different. Children respond much quicker to treatment than adults do. With adults I use acupuncture needles where as with children I use a non-invasive impulse machine to stimulate acupuncture points. The children only feel a slight tapping sensation at the site of the point.

About the Author
Marc Sklar is a board certified herbalist and expert Oriental Medicine Practitioner. He specializes in infertility, gynecology, pediatrics, and digestive disorders. Marc sits on the board of directors for the California State Oriental Medical Association. Marc approaches every patient with an open mind, compassion and a medically integrated perspective.

Mark Sklar practices in San Diego, California.




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