When you’re at the beginning of a cold or flu, it’s not the time to be receiving bodywork. Every cold season I usually have one or two regular clients who (understandably) just want to feel better in their bodies, and massage and reflexology seem like a good choice. After all, massage feels good and is good for you, so why not?
Receiving a massage, Reiki, or reflexology session when you’re first coming down with a cold or flu can actually feel…well, like being hit with a mac truck, making your cold symptoms feel five times worse! I’ve had clients who mention at the beginning for the session that they have been successfully “fighting off a cold” but feel low energy have head cold symptoms by the end of the session, due to the detoxification effect that reflexology has on the body’s systems.
If you’re starting to feel better and aren’t coughing as much or having as much sinus congestion or draining, my combination of Swedish and deep tissue massage, and lymphatic drainage massage can actually help you move through the tail end of a cold more quickly. I also recommend getting at least one acupuncture session at the end of a cold or flu since it can help boost your immune system and get your energy back. Not a fan of acupuncture? No problem, I’m also a Reiki practitioner, and you’ll get similar benefits from this energy work as from acupuncture, but without using needles.
But if you’re at the beginning of a cold, here are some easy ways to get well sooner:
-Drink your fluids! If you do just one thing, make sure it’s hydrate. Water, tea, unsweetened fruit juices, or all of the above. I drink at least two big cups of tea an hour through the duration of my colds. (Yes, it’s annoying to have to pee so much, but isn’t having a cold or flu worse?)
-Stay warm! Wear two pairs of socks to help heat your body, bundle up and grab some blankets. The purpose of a fever is to heat your whole body up to kill germs, kin of like boiling water kills any germs in it, a fever is productive in it’s own way. Do see a doctor if you have a prolonged high fever as this can be a sign of something more serious than a cold or flu!
Eat your chicken soup, pho, or other hot and hearty soup or stew. It will give you energy to fight off the cold or flu virus. Stay away from alcohol as this will suppress your immune system, and you want it to work for you so you get over this nasty thing!
-Stay positive about your body’s ability to heal itself! Remember, the effects of stress can slow your body’s ability to heal itself! The reason you feel so crummy when you are sick is because your body is doing hard work to get you feeling better, so feeling great is not it’s priority right now. Watch movies or shows that make you laugh, talk to a friend (unless it hurts your throat to talk of course), and try meditation. I like to visualize my body’s white blood cells and other immune cells filling my body with energy to fight those germs and viruses.
– Think like a natural healer! Over the years I have had plenty of time to find my own list of go-to items that together help me get well soon. They may not be appropriate for everyone, so if you are interested in these, ask your naturopath or doctor if these are ok for you to take:
-Wellness Formula – a natural supplement from Source Naturals. Can be found at Super Supplements, Whole Foods, PCC, or other health food coop. I take it to boost my immune system during cold season, and at the first sign of a cold.
– Elderberry syrup – also found at the stores I mentioned, or online (as everything is nowadays) it contains high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants, and has been used for centuries to fight off cold and flus. It’s also super yummy!
– Fresh Ginger Tea- easy to make and really warms your body and gives you a bit more energy to make it through your day. Peel a lobe of ginger with a spoon, grate it, and put it into a tea ball. Place it into a mug of hot water and infuse it until it’s the taste you like. Infusing it longer will make it spicier (my preference). Add a twist of lemon and a teaspoonful of honey. You can also add a packet of Emergen-C if you like, the raspberry flavor is a nice complement.
-Try aromatherapy! Eucalyptus essential oil can help open blocked sinuses when you put a couple of drops into a bowl of hot water and inhale the vapors. Put a towel over your head while you do this so the steam goes where it needs to and not just into the air around you! I also apply a few drops of Thieves Oil (a blend of cinnamon, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, and clove essential oils) to my skin which helps to boost your immune system. It’s a centuries-old recipe that’s just as effective today as it was in the middle ages!
– And finally, try acupressure! Similar to acupuncture, acupressure is just placing a mild-moderate pressure on points on your body that stimulate healing and rebalancing of your body’s systems. My go-to resource for this is the book Acupuncture’s Potent Points by Michael Reed-Gach. Turn to the chapters on pressure points for getting over colds and flus, the immune system, and sinus conditions.