Cough and cold prevention and relief

This time of the year is really tough on our immunity. Less daylight and the contrast between the dry, heated air indoors and low temperatures outside, means our body has to work harder.  Add in the late nights, party food and alcohol of the festive season – and it’s no surprise we fall prey to all the coughs, colds and viruses doing the rounds.

The term “common cold” covers different symptoms caused by an infection of the upper airways. They are in the main quite harmless and tend to run their course within a week or so. Coughs, on the other hand, can take up to three weeks to disappear completely.

In general coughs and colds are considered an unpleasant but inevitable aspect of winter, but Chinese Medicine would say otherwise. In fact, one of the earliest medical texts in China analysed colds and flu, the causes, stages, levels in the body, and consequences if left untreated. The text has 397 sections and 112 herbal prescriptions– so clearly there must be some valuable wisdom to help us prevent them, lessen their effects or get rid of any persistent symptoms.

I’ve listed the most practical and achievable.

Step 1: Prevention

The Chinese approach to health is that prevention is as important as cure. The theory is that if your body is in a healthy state, it is harder for illness to get a foothold in the body.  So, the first step is to use the Hayo’u Method to support your body in maintaining its equilibrium.

The Hayo’u Method offers  four one-minute rituals, because small changes can be powerful. Being small makes them achievable no matter what – and that’s why they work. Like brushing your teeth, do them daily and you should reduce the need for treatment.

Support your circulation

The Hayo’u Reset Ritual has been specifically designed to support the circulatory system. One minute of shaking, drumming and twisting invigorates your circulation, stimulates digestion and most important of all – boosts immunity.

Drum your thymus gland every day. Your thymus is situated behind your breastbone, and it’s where T cells, which fight infection, are produced in the body.

Exercise reduces the impact of the stress hormones that make the body more vulnerable to colds and flu. But before we all rush to the gym, it only takes a few minutes of low-intensity exercise such as walking to trigger the release of feel-good endorphins. Anything that gently increases your circulation is going to help. Exercise does not need to be strenuous to be effective. Simple, mild exercise like Qi Gong or swimming relaxes your body and mind, which eases daily stress.

There is such a thing as too much exercise, especially if you’re feeling tired or unwell. If you’re in a state of exhaustion to begin with, a cardiovascular heart-pumping exercise will only deplete your energy reserves further. Plus, high intensity workouts create stress hormones in the body – so stick to the low impact, fat burning end of the spectrum.

Support your immune system

Along with enhancing your circulation, the best way to prevent colds and coughs is to directly support your immune system.

Gua Sha (using the Body Restorer™) directly supports the body’s immune functioning. Firstly, it helps disperse toxins by increased circulation. Then as the blood is reabsorbed by the body it promotes an enzyme (HO-1) which is both anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.

We’d recommend focussing on your chest, neck and upper back because It clears lymph, moves blood and reduces inflammation, which weakens your immunity. The lymph nodes and tonsils are all in that area, this motion keeps them clear and working at full capacity.

Coughs and Colds

Then, minimise daily intake of mucus-producing foods such as dairy; alcohol; sugar; wheat; refined breads, pastas and rice; fried foods; cold temperatures and raw foods. Reducing the amount of mucus in your system is always a good move, but at this time of year it’s particularly important. Anything you consume should be room temperature or warmer. Chinese Medicine believes that warming foods and fluids raise the energy (qi) of the organs, improves the circulation and dis-spells the cold.

Get plenty of sleep – early nights in winter are important! Winter is the season of retreat and rest in Chinese Medicine.

Finally, add a daily elderberry supplement and plenty of vitamin C.

Step 2: – At the first sign of a cold

If you feel a cold coming on, use the Body Restorer™ and immediately Gua Sha around the spine at the base of your neck and your lower back. In Chinese Medicine, these are two areas of the body we work on in clinic to prevent the virus from getting a foothold in the body.

According to Chinese Medicine, by releasing and relaxing the neck and lower back we can improve not only our immune system, but also our digestion, energy levels and circulation.

Then, ideally go to bed immediately to allow your body the chance to sweat out the cold. You may be sweating naturally – if not, you’ll have to help it along. Do not lower your temperature! Pile on the duvets to encourage sweat. If this isn’t possible, wrap up warm and wear a scarf and vest.

As we are encouraging a sweat, make sure you replenish lost fluids. Try this cinnamon twig recipe. Put some fresh ginger, cinnamon twig, tangerine peel, liquorice root fresh lemon juice and honey into a teapot and keep drinking it throughout the day. Liquorice has anti-inflammatory qualities, making it useful for sore throat and cough symptoms as well.

Good nutrition is essential. Clear soups and vegetable juices are great remedies and also replace fluids. Miso soup with the white part of spring onion added, fresh ginger tea or chicken broth are also highly recommended.

At this stage the ‘four whites’ (sugar, white flour, salt and cow’s milk/animal fat) must be totally eliminated as they feed the cold virus.

Green tea has strong antioxidant properties, it scavenges the free radicals involved in disease, so a useful drink to have. Burn eucalyptus oil in the room. Ginger and eucalyptus are both powerful stimulants that open the bronchial passages, warm the body and stimulate sweating.

Step 3 – If it’s got a foothold into your body

Continue as above.

For relief of symptoms appearing in such conditions as influenza and tonsillitis as well as the common cold, there is a highly effective patented formula I always use called Yin Qiao San.

Use Beauty Restorer™ to self-acupressure for symptom relief.

▪ Press around nostrils to relieve stuffy and runny nose symptoms.

▪ Press the fleshy area between thumb and index finger to relieve stuffy/runny nose and eyes and headache. This point is very effective for colds and sore throats, since it suppresses pain and activates the immune system.

▪ Press stroke down throat, especially if you are suffering a sore throat and inflamed tonsils.

▪ For headaches and sore nose or eye symptoms, press-roll the Body Restorer™ over the back of the neck, right below your skull / occipital joint.

Disclaimer: Gua Sha is a treatment designed to relieve muscular pain and tension and improve circulation. Results vary according to age, strength of body, skin type and medical conditions. If you are under the age of 16 and over the age of 60, or suffering specific medical conditions, we do not recommend using the Body Restorer™ until you have consulted a medical practitioner. At no point should treatment feel painful. Always start gently, observing the reaction to your skin and proceed with caution. If in any doubt, contact us at or seek medical advice. This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.

Real People. Real Results