How to avoid Colds and Flu

Now I can’t make any claims here that what I am about to suggest is guaranteed to work, but in my experience these suggestions certainly help.

As a child I was sometimes woken up in the morning by my Mother ‘snorting’; what she was actually doing was taking water through her nostrils, one at a time, assign it through her nasal passages and out through her mouth. Some people with whom I have shared this story think it is disgusting and would prefer to carry on suffering with their respiratory problems. My mother, not faint hearted, never had a cold or suffered flu in her life. Where did this technique come from? The technique in question was given to her by our GP (RIP), and my Mum, being a woman of great gusto took it up enthusiastically. As for her daughter ummm; however, a success story at last as I am now doing it regularly. Yes, I admit I do have a cold as I write and that has been the major motivational force and secondly when I was training as a Yoga teacher I was introduced to the netti pot.

Reducing mucus

The netti pot is an ancient Indian practice for cleaning our nasal passages. It looks similar to a tea pot but instead of pouring tea out of the spout, you’ve guessed it – you stick it up your nostril. Not a pretty sight, especially in the morning and maybe not for newly weds but it works, flushing out all that nasal gunk (the green grollies) leaving you once more able to breath. My Mum didn’t have one of these and improvised, but the netti pot works like magic.

Now of course there are some rules. Firstly you tip your head forward and slightly on one side until water pours out of the other nostril and if you want to cleanse your throat as well you tip your head slightly back until the water runs out through your throat. It’s a good idea to have a box of hankies ready to blow your nose afterwards. I suggest you do it over the bathroom sink (common sense really), I have to say this in case I get complaints of wet feet! And there you have it a recipe for a clean nose daily. You can buy your netti pot from www.chin-mudra.com, in china or plastic and I believe they come in a variety of colours. Please remember that there is no such thing as a medicine that can get rid of the mucus that floods our nasal passages during a cold. 

The origins of mucus

Mucus is the bane of a cold, it stops us breathing, makes us feel horrible, gives us coughs and sneezes and seems to linger long after we have finished being ill. Mucus is a necessary slippery, gloopy substance that stops our bodies drying out and we produce it all the time. During a cold the body produces more to protect it from inflammation and so we find it in abundance in our respiratory pathways and this is when we register it as being annoying.

Being a Shiatsu practitioner, I look at mucus from a Chinese medical perspective where it has wide ranging consequences for the body, not least as being a cause of illness in itself.  The main cause of mucus is a deficiency in the spleen when it fails to transform and transport the liquids in our bodies and in this respect the lungs and kidneys are also involved yet the spleen is the primary factor. Without going into a long discussion about the formation of mucus, it is worthwhile realising that mucus retained by our bodies for a long time can settle under the skin and in our joints to cause arthritic bone deformities. So what can we do to keep the production of mucus to a normal healthy level?

The spleen being a major cause of mucus in our bodies is readily upset by too much thinking and too much reflection. From a western perspective we tend to let our thoughts run untamed and so the result is an upset spleen and too much mucus swimming around our bodies contributing to colds and flu. A good indication of this is also when we are feeling particularly tired it is clearly an indication your spleen is out of balance. This is very simply put, but it is enough to state that tiredness is not a natural state for the body and again prolonged over an extended period of time leads to illness.

Other contributory factors causing mucus

Now I am not being scientific in my terminology here but to write something that you will feel and experience. During my cold I found that eating certain foods appeared to increase the mucus in my throat and indeed gave me a nasty cough that was almost impossible to shift and even after 3 weeks I find I am still coughing. Foods to avoid are milk based products, including cheese, yeast based products and of course bread and foods which your body finds hard to digest such as red meats. The foods which prove to be most beneficial are fresh fruits, particularly apples, bananas and citrus fruits and these I found very soothing for my throat and stopped the coughing in fact eat the fruit you enjoy and you can’t really go wrong. We all know the benefits of hot honey and lemon as a cold cure; well it works and is an age old remedy.

So if I am to conclude quickly it would be to say tat to avoid colds and flu, use the netti pot daily, eat plenty of fresh fruit daily, drink lots of water and herbal teas, get plenty of sleep, listen to your body it knows what it wants if you just listen and meditate to reduce the mind chatter.

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About Yoga - Sunyata

I have been very fortunate to have trained with some of the best teachers in their fields. In the UK I learnt Yoga under Cheryl Sayers in Cambridge and later with Sivananda in France. Cheryl was an authentic experienced Hatha Yoga teacher who hadbeen taught by her father in India from the age of 7, she became my spiritual teacher. I learnt Reiki and Indian Head Massage with Chris Cuzons, renowned Natural Therapy Teacher in East Anglia. I studied psychotherapy with the Central School for Counselling Training and I practiced for a while in the Chatteris Doctor’s Surgery in Cambridgeshire and here I championed the introduction of holistic therapies in the local Primary Health Care Trust with the aid of Help the Aged. Latterly I was a connsellor in France in my clinic there and provideing a telephone service as well. I am again studying Mindfulness based Psychotherapy with Karuna Institute Devon at post Masters level. I was lucky to go France and learn Traditional Yang style Tai Chi with Anya Meot, Philippe Pastor and Master Tung in Toulouse and Paris. I learnt and practiced Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine with Daniel Menini in Toulouse and I opened my own practice in France in the small canton town of Aurignac in the Haute Garonne. I went to Japan to continue my studies in Chinese Medicine with Masanori Okamoto in the Tokyo Therapeutic School. Latterly in Ireland, I have undertaken continued professional development with Eddie Dowd in the College of Oriental Medicine. As a teacher of meditation I studied with the Western Buddhist Order in Cambridge, Shambhala in Toulouse France and Tibetan Buddhist mindfulness in London and Ireland. I studied Mediumship at the Arthur Findlay College. My studies do not stop here.
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One Response to How to avoid Colds and Flu

  1. Pingback: How to avoid Colds and Flu | shushumna

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