Winter is coming

by Mark Whalen

Despite the rise in temperatures coming this week, winter is coming.  With the winter months comes the dreaded cold and flu season.  Rather than resign yourself to getting sick this winter, let’s take a look at what you can do to give yourself the best chance of staying healthy and how Chinese medicine can help you if you do get sick.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese medicine provides successful, time-tested methods for fighting the common cold and flus that are so prevalent in the winter months.

In my acupuncture clinic I have an herbal pharmacy on site, which allows me the flexibility to make a formula for any patient based on their individual needs.  When it comes to fighting colds/flus there are several categories of herbs to choose from.  There are Chinese herbs with anti-viral or anti-bacterial properties; herbs that can boost the immune system and other herbs that help fight fevers or sore throats.

Since the best time to treat a cold is right at the beginning, and it’s not always realistic for patients to come to the clinic at this time, so it’s a good idea to have a formula at home in your medicine cabinet.

Evergreen Herbs makes a formula called Lonicera Complex, which is my favorite choice, and is what I reach for if I start feeling sick.  This formula is well balanced and contains herbs with anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties and that enhance the immune system.  The Lonicera Complex formula is well designed and is able to treat viral or bacterial infections.  Use of this formula has been shown to reduce the duration and intensity of both bacterial and viral infections.  1 (source here)

If you have a tendency to get sick often during the winter, I recommend you get some Lonicera Complex and use it at the first sign of a cold.


Rather than treat you when you’re sick, let’s look at some ways you can improve your chances of staying healthy this winter.

  1. Exercise- exercise has positive effects on the immune system- stay active this winter, whether it is indoors or out.  Avoid exercising if you do get sick-allow your body the time to rest and recover.
  2. Sleep- proper rest is very important for the proper functioning of your immune system.  Aim for 7-8 hours per night.
  3. Eat well- a common theme of my blogs.  Avoid processed foods, high sugar foods and opt for healthy fruits, vegetables and healthy sources of protein.  Get a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to make sure you get enough vitamins and nutrients.  Vitamin C is a particularly beneficial for supporting the immune system.
  4. Wash your hands- the easiest way to stop the spread of germs.  Keep your workspace and home clean as well.
  5. Drink water: keeps your system hydrated and helps to flush out germs/toxins
  6.  De-stress—stress takes a toll on our body’s ability to fight off illness
  7. Get acupuncture:  acupuncture helps boost the body’s immune system, improves the stress response and can help you sleep better.
Take care of yourself this winter.  Nourish your body with good quality foods and get your rest.  If you need a boost to your immune system or if you do get sick, please call our office at 781-944-3000 as soon as possible to book an appointment.

Mark Whalen is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Board Certified Herbalist and the founder of Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness in Reading, MA.

Mark Whalen – who has written posts on Acupuncture Reading MA - Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness.


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Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness
20 Pondmeadow Dr #107, Reading, MA 01867
Phone: (781) 944-3000


Serving Reading, North Reading, Wakefield, Burlington and the surrounding Middlesex County, MA areas.

Zip Codes: 01730, 01810, 01867, 01880, 01821, 01803, 01864, 01876,
01887, 01915, 01923, 01940, 01949, 01960