What to do if you have coronavirus
Before I start talking about acupuncture for coronavirus, the first thing to say is that if you think you may currently be infected with the novel coronavirus which causes Covid-19, you should most definitely follow the Australian government’s advice for people in your situation.
To limit the spread of the virus, you will be asked to self-isolate, so you won’t be able to receive acupuncture for coronavirus while you are actively infected.
The history of acupuncture for infectious diseases
If we look back to earlier eras, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine have a long history of working to support people’s health during outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Many diseases that we no longer have to live with in developed countries were common during the thousands of years where Chinese medical wisdom developed and accumulated. The classic texts, dating back for hundreds and thousands of years, often discuss approaches to fevers and talk about the body being invaded by by ‘external pathogenic factors’.
Acupuncture for coronavirus – not during active infection!
The traditional diagnostic framework we use in Chinese medicine today often lists symptoms that I would never expect to see in my modern practice – people that sick in the modern era are in a hospital rather than walking into my acupuncture clinic!
And this is true for an active coronavirus infection. Limiting the spread of the infection, and providing conventional medical treatment for extreme cases, including hospitalisation and intensive care if necessary, are the right approaches if you are currently ill with the coronavirus.
Chinese and western medicine side by side
In modern China, traditional Chinese medicine is often much more integrated with western medical approaches than in Australia, and both are often offered side by side in a hospital context.
I understand that this is happening in some cases in China during the hospital treatment of coronavirus patients. It will be interesting to see the medical research papers which come out at the end of this experience, assessing the impact of using both systems hand in hand.
Supporting your lung health
Like everyone else, I’m following all the advice about coronavirus prevention – handwashing, trying not to touch my face, and so on.
It’s a little 20 minute routine using easy Qi Kung exercises, of simple movements, and tapping the relevant meridians, or energy pathways, to stimulate your lung energy. I’ve added this into my daily practice and I’m enjoying it a lot.
In Chinese medicine the Wei Qi, or the Defensive Qi, which is a similar concept to the immune system, is closely associated with your lung health.
And in general, all the good lifestyle choices which support your health normally, also support your immune system – whether it’s eating plenty of fruit and veg, or getting a good night’s sleep.
So one thing you can do to prepare for any spreading of the coronavirus here in Perth, is just to look after yourself really well!
Post viral recovery
Thinking then about acupuncture for coronavirus, and looking to the future, I’m mindful of the number of people over the years who have come to see me struggling with post-viral symptoms, sometimes even years after their original infection.
Traditional Chinese medical syndromes include patterns involving respiratory illnesses getting ‘stuck’ in the lungs after an acute illness – they have delightful names like ‘Phlegm Retained in the Lung’.
Recently I read an article describing the experiences a Chinese lady went through during her coronavirus infection, which ended with her thankfully being given the all clear of the viral infection, but still working to build her energy back up, and still stuck with some breathlessness.
So I a quick Google for scientific research on acupuncture for post-viral symptoms. I found some research studies on topics like acupuncture for post viral cough, acupuncture for post-viral fatigue, and acupuncture for post-viral olfactory dysfunction (problems with your sense of smell).
But, I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to find the level of robust clinical evidence that is required for me to share it with you here. Acupuncture to support post-viral recovery is an area where scientific research is very much ongoing, and no benefit can be considered proven.
Get in touch
Wishing you lots of good health in challenging times!
And don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve got any questions, or if you’d like to book some acupuncture to support your wellbeing, at any time.