Common Cold and Influenza

Many people struggle with the common cold.

Common cold is an acute catarrhal inflammation of the upper respiratory tract caused by bacteria or virus.  Clinically, it is marked by fever, chills, stuffy nose, sneezing, rhinorrhea, and sore throat.

Influenza is an infectious disease of the reparatory tract, caused by the influenza viruses.  Clinically, it is marked by abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, and myalgia, or even high fever, chest pain and dyspnea in severe cases.

It usually spreads to a large number of of persons within a short period,  According to TCM, common cold belongs to the category of “Shang Feng” meaning “Attack by pathogenic Wind” or  by “Shang Feng Gan Mao” meaning epidemic common cold.  They are usually discussed together.

Standard Treatment 

Common cold and influenza are generally divided into three types:

1) Wind-Cold

2) Wind-Heat

3) Qi Deficiency

Points of the Lung, Large Intestine and Bladder Meridians are frequently selected in their treatment

Wind Cold

Manifestations: Nasal stuffiness with clear discharge, sneezing, itching, in the throat, coarse voice, coughing with this white sputum, aversion to cold, fever, headache, general aching, absence of sweating in severe cases.

Toungue: Thin and white coating

Pulse: Superficial or superficial and tense.

Treatment Principle

Relieve Exterior syndrome, dispel wind-cold.

Point Prescription & Manipulation

Gall Bladder 20  Fengchi  “Wind Pool” _ >

San Jia 5  Waiguan “Outer Passage” _>

Lung 7 Lieque  “Broken Sequence”  _>

LI 20 Yingxian Welcome Fragrence


GB-20 Fengchi and San Jiao 5 Waiguan, dispel external pathogen and relieve exterior syndrome, and LU 7 Lieque disperse Lung qi.  Moxibustion on these points disperses cold pathogen.

Secondary points according to condition

LI 20 opens the orifice of the nose to promote breathing and un-obstruct the airway from phlegm

Severe Condition:

LI-4 Hegu  –

BL 12 Fengmen – sedate with cupping

BL 13 Fieshu – sedate with cupping

Wind Heat

Wind-Heat manifests its self with fever, slight aversion to cold, sweating, headache, nasal stuffiness with turbid discharge, thirst, congested and sore throat, coughing with thick yellow sputum.

Toungue: Thin and Yellow Coating

Pulse: Superficial and rapid

Tratment Principle:  Relieve exterior syndrome, disperse wind-heat.

Chinese Medical Massage (Tui Na)

One of the best things about studying Traditional Chinese Medicine is that you learn many techniques that you can immediately put to use on family, friends and even clients.

Students enrolled in Oshio college’s Tui Na practitioner program learn the techniques of Chinese medical massage, as well as Gua Sha and Cupping therapies, in addition to a broad foundation in TCM history, philosophy, and diagnosis.

What is Gua Sha?  It is an ancient form of “friction therapy”.  Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha can be translated as a reddish rash or petechiae. Gua Sha is a friction technique that intentionally raises Sha rash or petechiae, by drawing stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface of the skin, removing toxins, and allowing fresh fluid to enter the space (usually large muscle groups on the back of the body) to regenerate and revitalize the body.  Gua Sha moves stuck Qi and blood, releases the exterior (mimicking sweating) and moves body fluids. In medical terms, Gua sha allows for the movement of metabolic waste, promotes circulation and normalizes metabolic processes.

Cupping therapy has been used for approx. 300 C.E. when the famous Taoist alchemist Ge Hong described the method in his book A Handbook for prescriptions for emergencies. Originally animal horns were used to create a vacuum on the surface of the skin, to move Qi and blood.  Nowadays, glass cups are used predominately, with the options of bamboo or plastic also available.

It is important to warn the patients that there is a risk of bruising with both Gua sha and cupping therapies. The results ( withdrawal of toxins, promotion of circulation and a general feeling of enhanced wellbeing) are worth the temporary bruising, as fans of such therapies will tell you.

At Oshio College in Victoria, students who complete the one year program of Tui Na massage therapy learn all these techniques, as well as the foundational courses towards the 3-year Diploma of Acupuncture. This way, students can practice using Tui Na, cupping, Gua Sha and other techniques on their family, friends, and patients while working towards their designation as a Registered Acupuncturist.

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Chest Pain

Most Acupuncturists know the best Acupuncture points to stop chest pain and move qi and blood in the chest. Nei Guan, Shan Zhong, and Xin Shu are some of the most effective Acupuncture points to treat chronic Chest Pain.

But Herbal Medicine is more effective to move blood stasis or to nourish the underlying deficiency which results in Chest pain. But which herbal formulas to use?

Well, that’s where the TCM differentiation according to syndromes shines. The following is a brief summary of the 6 main syndromes resulting in chronic chest pain and their representative formulas. Thank you to Dr. Kai Chen of Oshio College for teaching us how to effectively differentiate and prescribe herbal formulas.

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is, of course, the representative formula for Chest pain due to blood stasis in the mansion of the Blood. If the patient has Heart palpitations with an irregular, choppy pulse and other classic blood stasis symptoms, we can use this formula to Move blood and Open up the channels.

If the patient has a heavier sensation, along with the telltale signs of Phlegm Stagnation, we can give them Gua Luo Xie Bai Ban Xia Tang in order to open the chest and dissolve phlegm.

If they are suffering from Qi Stagnation, with distending pain and a wiry pulse, then a modification of Chai Hu Shu Gan San can be used to smooth liver Qi, open the meridians and stop the pain.

If the Chest pain is due to cold invasion and features a sharp, colicky sensation with a light pulse and pale/purple tongue, then we can give them Gua Luo Xie Bai Bai Jiu Tang, perhaps with some warming herbs like Gui Zhi or a small amount of Fu Zi.

If the Chest pain is worse after exertion, better with rest, and we suspect that they have an underlying Yang Qi deficiency, then we can warm them and tonify their Yang Qi using the formula Shen Fu Tang.

If it’s not quite that bad, and they only suffer from Qi deficiency, then it’s better to use Sheng Mai San to nourish Yin and tonify Qi.

And if they have chronic, dull, burning chest pain with other Yin deficiency signs, then we can Nourish their Heart Yin using Liu Wei Di Huang Wan with Sheng Mai San.

Of course, if they are having an Acute attack of chest pain, we must refer them to the CICU: Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Just remember to take out the needles first!!!