While I know that it is still late summer outside, I am reminded that head & chest colds can come most any time of year.  I wanted to offer some quick tips on DIY Acupuncture for those beginning cold symptoms, as well as more information on how your neighborhood acupuncturist can help with a cold after it’s set in.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to notice and deal with a cold the moment you feel it coming on. You may notice the scratchy throat, or the ever-so-slightly running nose, or that general sense of malaise in the body telling you that something ain’t quite right. This is the proverbial molehill that hasn’t yet turned into the mountain. This is when treating your cold (and I call it a cold even though most wouldn’t call it that yet) is the easiest and most effective. It’s so easy that the next morning when you wake up with none of your previous symptoms, you’ll be tempted to say, “Were those REALLY cold symptoms, or was I making it up?” I know that you’re not making it up, and I know that this works.

So the Do It Yourself Acupuncture is really easy. The moment you feel cold symptoms coming on, press on Lung 11, located on the radial nail point of your thumb

images (when you put your thumbs together in a “thumbs-up” position, the acupuncture points are basically touching each other). You can press the point with the nail or tip of the other thumb. This is a great point to help boost your immune system and to kick out the external pathogen that is creating the runny nose, sore throat, etc. Press on it for 30-60 seconds several times during the day and notice your symptoms begin to recede.

The next great point for these early stage symptoms is Large Intestine 4. Located where the “thumb bone” meets the “pointer finger bone”, this point is especially good for runny noses (it’s also good for frontal headaches, but that’s a different topic). Again, use your thumb from your other hand to apply pressure to the point, looking for the tender spot.

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You may notice the nose begin to clear immediately. The point also boosts the immune system, so benefits may be seen the next day.

If the symptoms have set in for a day or two, coming in for acupuncture will show greater benefit than the DIY version. The acupuncturist may still treat those two points, and several others to both address the symptoms, as well as further bolstering the immune response.

LU 7 (about 2-3 inches below your wrist), BL 12 & DU 16 (both located on the back just below the neck) are also excellent for kicking out the bug. These points are more meant to treat the symptoms of cough, runny nose, and even headache.

ST36 (located just below the knee), Ren6&12, and LU9 are quintessential points to boost the immune system. They enhance the body’s ability to stave off further infiltration by the “cold bug” while improving one’s energy.

Of course, nothing is better for you than rest, especially after a treatment. So when you’re sick, take my advice: Get some acupuncture, then go home, pop some cheesy movie, cuddle up on the couch and take it easy. You’ll be up and around in no time!