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Grandma’s Chicken Soup

Dec 16, 2010 | Acupuncture

Acupuncture or Grandma’s Chicken Soup – Both Ancient – Both Work

By Jill Ellen Smith L.Ac., M.Ac.
For the Howard County Women’s Journal

Tis the season to be sick. Here it is, the dreaded cold and flu season. Aches, sniffles, fatigue, fever, chills etc. According to ancient Chinese Medicine, in addition to viruses and bacteria (which love to live on our bodies), the ‘pathogens’ responsible for the cold and flu’s we get are due to, quite literally, cold and wind entering our bodies through the skin.

Each person has varying degrees of constitutional vulnerabilities that leave his or her body weak and exposed on one area or another. This inherent weakness can lead to people catching cold and flu’s. The busy-ness and stresses of our demanding American lifestyle can contribute to weakening our body’s defense system. Oriental medicine uses acupuncture and, if indicated, herbs, to strengthen each person’s underlying weakness, thus boosting the immune system. According to Marc Sklar, L.Ac., studies show that certain blood counts and immune enhancing chemicals stay elevated for at least 3 days after an acupuncture treatment. As acupuncture treatments continue over time, the body begins to maintain the benefits of the effects of acupuncture, hence the boosted immune system.

In addition to colds and flu, the winter ‘blahs’, or blues, or even depression that frequently show up this time of year can be effectively treated with acupuncture. In my last article, I spoke about ‘blocks’ of qi or decreased ‘flow’ of qi. As the blocks are removed and the qi flow is restored and strengthened, one’s outlook on life also improves. Let me introduce a new concept,Yin/Yang. This abstract construct is actually at the heart of all Chinese medical diagnoses (and has been so for thousands of years). Think of Yang energy as light, warmth, sun, joy, and movement. Think of Yin energy as cold, dark, sad, and still. Winter in Maryland can be very Yin. The Yang energy has ‘gone south for the winter’. Some people are constitutionally more prone to react to the decreased Yang energy with depression and sluggishness. Acupuncture works to restore the body’s natural balance of Yin and Yang, hence, a lifting of one’s mood. And it gets better. As the balance is restored, a person’s mood becomes more balanced throughout the year.

If acupuncture treatment is maintained consistently, over time a person develops the ability to maintain his or her own balance, hence the decreasing necessity in frequency of acupuncture therapy. Again, a person’s overall constitution determines the amount of time this may take.

In the chart compiled by the WHO (World Health Organization) and NIH (National Institutes of Health), is a list of recognized ailments and disharmonies that can be effectively treated with acupuncture.

Next issue, because it will be spring, I will address the aches and pains that often increase during this time of year. Arthritis will be addressed, as well as the allergies that wreak havoc on our systems in the Spring.

I look forward to your comments or questions.


I knew that making a commitment to acupuncture meant making a commitment to me. I now realize that the benefits are much more far reaching. Jill Ellen has helped me to increase my focus and manage day-to-day stress. As a result I am more effective at work and a much better parent and friend.

Tracy Durkin

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