Here is another instalment of our regular series on various health conditions. Following a brief overview of the relevant condition, Guild members share their expertise in treating the condition. What they recommend is not intended to replace orthodox medical care but to complement it and to give other suggestions if what you have tried has not so far worked for you.
Different therapists specialise in different conditions and even within similar therapies, you will find different approaches some of which may suit you better than others. Sometimes, a combination of therapies will suit.
We generally recommend that you give each therapy time to work but that if you have had absolutely no benefit whatsoever within 3-4 sessions, then probably, that approach is not for you and you may well get on better with someone else.
When you choose to see a therapist, you have chosen to make a positive difference. We wish you every success and will support you in changing your life for the better.'
With autumn in full swing and winter approaching, the cold and flu season is just around the corner. Are you and your family prepared? There is no cure for a cold or the flu but complementary therapies can help alleviate the symptoms and make you more comfortable.
Colds and Flu Both the flu and common cold are highly contagious respiratory diseases caused by viruses and have similar symptoms, sore throat, cough and a runny or stuffy nose. However the flu tends to be more severe and may be accompanied by:-
A 37.5C (99.5F) or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
Headaches and/or body aches and fatigue
Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea (most common in children)
Both diseases are usually treatable with bed rest, staying warm, drinking plenty of fluids and taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin especially those under 16. In the past few years new anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu have been developed which can be prescribed by GPs. To prevent infection, frequent hand washing and encouraging everyone (especially children) to use tissues when blowing their nose and coughing. Unfortunately the viruses tend to mutate hence the body cannot build up any lasting immunity to the viruses and we may experience colds/flu every year. It is wise to seek medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain in the chest or abdomen, confusion, high fever, rash or seizures. The elderly, children under 5, pregnant women, and those with existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, lung or heart conditions might be at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia. Children may experience concurrent ear infections or strep throat.
Herbal Medicine with Michelle Boudin
An old wives tale says a cold takes 5 days to come, stays for 5 days and 5 days to go. It certainly is difficult to throw off a cold or flu but natural therapies may help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. After rest, and staying hydrated avoiding sugar including honey or fruit should be a priority as it depresses the immune system. Vitamin C (500g per day), Zinc (30g per day) and Echinacea will enhance immune function and should be cupboard staples.
A doctor once told me to never to eat with my fingers, nor put my fingers in mouth or lick them as he believed most infections came through this root. I found this simple tip has reduced my annual infection rates.
Elecampane has a warming and soothing expectorant action. It's anti-inflammatory properties counteract infection.
Mullein is a beneficial anti-catarrhal remedy. Mullein oil is also effective in treating ear infections.
Thyme is a wonderful warming respiratory tonic. It antiviral, and antibacterial and works well on tickly or dry coughs.
Garlic is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It should be eaten liberally during the cold season.
Eyebright is very beneficial for the eyes when affected by colds or hayfever.
Coltsfoot is a traditional remedy but new findings show that it should only be used short term.
Elderberry, or Rosehip glycerites are high in vitamin C and great for children. Glycerite although taste sweet do not affect blood sugar levels (ie will not cause hyperactivity). Look for vegetarian glycerites
Thyme and Licorice glycerite makes a lovely warming cough syrup.
Yarrow, Mint and Elderflower is very good tea combination to take especially on the onset of cold and flu. It promotes sweating and therefore reduces fever.
Cinnamon quills, raw ginger, crushed garlic and lemon juice makes a wonderful traditional tea.
Herbalist and Naturopath Michelle Boudin
Reflexology with Julie Grant-Hapeshi Prevention is better than cure and regular and reflexologists find that clients are less susceptible to catching colds during the flu seasons if receiving regular treatments. Reflexology seems to help in bolstering immunological defences. Aside from stimulating lymphatic response, the relaxing treatment helps alleviate stress which can play havoc on the immune system when the nervous system becomes drained and depleted.
I would not treat flu as there are many contraindications. If it is a cold then reflexology may help in the early stages as it seems to bring out the symptoms or help to boost immune response. Reflexes to concentrate on would be sinuses, lungs, throat and chest as well as the immune system (spleen, liver and lympatic system), digestives and adrenals. As an aftercare, I would also advise drinking plenty of water and going to bed until feeling better.
As a qualified aromatherapist, I would enhance treatment by combing lotion with essential oils that are shown to be very beneficial to cold and flu symptoms. I always recommend taking advice from a qualified aromatherapist.
Julie Grant-Hapeshi Reflexologist
Homeopathy with Su Maxwell When affected by cold and 'flu viruses, a healthy body needs to clear unwanted matter from the lymphatic system via the nose, sinuses and throat. This is an important process, especially when the ears and chest are involved. It is also unpleasant and we all want or need to get back to normal as soon as possible. However, repeated suppression of this natural function may compromise the body's defenses in the future. So how do we allow a cold or 'flu virus to run its natural course?
Plenty of rest and increased fluid intake is essential to assist the "clearing out" process. The avoidance of dairy products, sugar, junk foods and bread, all of which increase mucous production will also help.
In addition, Homeopathic remedies, the "little white pills", have a long and successful history of supporting the various stages of colds and 'flu. Matched to specific symptoms and indications, they encourage elimination, help to reduce fever and inflammation and assist in the return to normal health. They do not interfere with mainstream medication and can be used by all age groups. Homeopathy is a CAM therapy (Complementary and Alternative Medicine).
A history of repeated colds and/or 'flu is an indicator for constitutional rather than therapeutic Homeopathic support. In such circumstances, it is better to consult a Homeopath rather than self-prescribe. Constitutional support reduces susceptibility to disease and improves general health.
Please contact me for more information, including details of suitable self-help remedies.
SU MAXWELL RSHom Homeopath
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