In Chinese medicine, the theory is that colds and flus are caused by pathogens that get into our bodies through our skin. So you know when your mom told you not to go outside without a jacket? Yeah... she was right!
So what are these "pathogens?" The main invading force is the wind. Ancient Chinese blamed the comings and goings of colds and flus on the wind. Much like the wind is there gusting at us one second and the next it's gone, so are colds and flus. (Okay, so maybe not as quickly as seconds, but you get my point!)
Wind will then usually combine with another pathogen inside our bodies. Here we have several options, and these tend to differ from person to person depending on how their individual bodies react to the pathogen. These pathogens are:
A wind-cold invasion will tend to present with a thin, watery nasal discharge and body aches.
Wind-phlegm will be a lot like a wind-cold invasion except that the mucous will be much more profuse and thicker.
Wind-Phlegm-Heat will often present like a sinus infection with thick, profuse and yellow or even green nasal discharge.
So how does one treat a wind invasion? This depends some on the type of invasion that you're experiencing, as is always the case in Chinese medicine, but the main thing is to get the wind out of your body. When using acupuncture or Chinese herbs, this is often done through promoting sweating. Remember how the ancient Chinese thought that pathogens get into our bodies through our skin? It was believed that these pathogens made their way in through our pores, and then got trapped and made us sick when our pores that had been open to allow the pathogen in then closed. The logical trick is then to promote sweating so that our pores will open and force the pathogen back out. Ever wonder why a hot bath or a sit in a hot tub often makes you feel better when you're sick? Yup! You're sweating out the bad stuff!
So the next time you think you might be getting sick, see your acupuncturist and herbalist to get the right herbal prescription for getting the sick out! Also drink plenty of nice warm fluids and consider taking a bath or two. Your body will appreciate the help in fighting the wind!