Ever become unwell on day two of your holidays? Isn’t this the most annoying thing!
It is ever so common to get a cold, stomach bug or other viral/bacterial infections while being on holiday. Patients frequently speak of not wanting to get sick in order to make the most of a relaxing time away.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can provide an explanation for this common occurrence. Better still, it can offer strategies to stay well and get the most out of your time of rest.
TCM is based on the concept of Qi or energy in our bodies. Qi is an abstract concept; it can’t be seen, smelt or heard but it can be felt. The best way to describe Qi is to think of it as your constitutional health. Qi flows in different pathways or channels through our body and nourishes everything from our organs, muscles, skin and even our minds. There are different levels of Qi. The most superficial layer is referred to as our ‘Protective Qi’. This is the closest correlation TCM has to what we know as the immune system. When we are exposed to prolonged stress, either due to work or personal issues, this will fatigue our bodies and in turn can have a considerable impact on our health and Qi. Often the first layer of Qi to be affected will be our protective Qi. Our protective Qi creates a barrier between our internal health and our environment. When we are over worked, stressed and fatigued, our protective Qi depletes or sinks and exposes us to nasty bugs and common colds, leaving us with less capacity to deal with them.
Even your local Chinese medicine practitioner has over-worked before going on holiday, trying to get through that to-do list before departure. Then with what TCM calls a protective Qi deficiency, we hop on a plane or spend time in a hotel pool and are exposed to more than normal pathogens. Hence two days later we present with symptoms of a cold or other viral/bacterial infection.
The clear solution here is to not become too depleted before going away, although that is a tough ask. Perhaps Chinese herbal medicine can provide some assistance here. There are specific formulas, such as Yu Ping Feng San, which are designed to nourish the protective Qi and ensure you have the best defence against pathogens. There are also formulas to take for the early onset of common colds and stomach viruses. These are useful to have on standby if you notice any symptoms and are a handy addition to your travel bag. Acupuncture can also be useful to replenish the body before you set off.
Just remember when you go away you may be depleted. Take it easy for the first couple of days of your holiday, allow your body to recover and then have some fun.