In this influenza season, western doctors usually advise people to get vaccination, but Chinese medicine practitioners would suggest tianjiu therapy (天灸療法) to promote wellness and strengthen immunity.
Tianjiu involves the application of mixed herbal paste on selected acupuncture points on designated days.
According to the holistic approach and the yin-yang and five-element theories, the human body could naturally respond to changes in the weather or environment.
However, imbalances in yin and yang, or between qi and blood would make the body less efficient in adapting to seasonal changes.
With weakened immune system, people would fall ill. Those who have allergic rhinitis or chronic pain would also find their conditions worsening.
By applying mixed warm and acrid herbal paste on particular acupuncture points, heat from the paste reaches and warms the meridians, thereby invigorating the flow of qi and blood and restoring the balance between yin and yang.
This in turn strengthens the body’s resistance to disease and promotes wellness.
Some clinical studies have shown that tianjiu is effective in treating illnesses caused or intensified by seasonal changes, such as influenza, allergic rhinitis, asthma, chronic bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
It is also good for cold hands and feet that result from coldness or yang deficiency.
It alleviates the symptoms of chronic diarrhea, stomach ache, and pain in the neck, shoulders and legs, as well as problems related to menstruation.
Office workers who spend long hours in an air-conditioned rooms and feel fatigue, cold extremities, dizziness or headache could also consider the treatment.
However, those who suffer from fever and coughing, in an early phase of diarrhea, or have skin conditions such as allergies, rashes or ulcers should not take the therapy.
Also unsuitable for treatment are patients with malignant tumors, acute cardiopulmonary diseases or diabetes mellitus, as well as children under the age of three and pregnant women.
Tianjiu treatments are available only during two specific periods of a year, i.e., during the summer solstice (the hottest three days) and winter solstice (the coldest three days).
The winter solstice tianjiu therapy is best taken on the following dates: Dec. 21 (winter solstice, first dose), Dec. 30 (second dose) and Jan. 9, 2017 (third dose).
People should seek advice from medical experts to assess their suitability for the therapy.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 5.
Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting
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