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Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for the Treatment of Covid Long-Haulers

I have seen patients in our clinic ranging from their 20's to 40's suffering from common Covid long-haul symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog. Another patient continues to have symptoms dating back to March of last year including a significant decrease in smell and taste.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can offer relief with the range of potential symptoms that may linger. We first take the approach of clearing the body of what we refer to as an "excess" in Chinese medicine. If you visualize the body as a river, acupuncture is stimulating the movement of accumulated and trapped Qi, Blood, dampness and heat.

These excesses can cause symptoms such as:

Qi/Blood Stasis – chronic cough, shortness of breath, dizziness, joint pain, neuropathy and "Covid toes" (rash and discoloration around the toes).

Retained Heat – insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, abnormal sweats and feeling overheated, constipation, skin rash, loss of smell.

Damp/Phlegm – sinus congestion, post nasal drip, cough, shortness of breath, joint pain, headache, brain fog, no appetite, bloating, nausea.

Following that, we nourish the “river” on a root level. Covid long-haulers experience a wide range of symptoms impacting various systems in the body. Acupuncture can support circulation, cardiovascular health, restore sleep, calm the Spirit, optimize digestion to restore the microbiome and clear inflammation. Basically, acupuncture helps the multi-system pathologies restoring the body back to balance.

The treatment plan for Covid recovery can be 3 to 12 months depending on the severity of the symptoms. The initial sessions are on a weekly basis and as the patient begins to improve, it is adjusted to monthly. There might be a relapse pathway, so it’s important to avoid triggers until feeling back to normal.

Avoid Triggers / How to take charge:

  • Diet is usually the main trigger. You want to avoid damp producing foods such as sugar, dairy, gluten and cold raw food. An excess in the body can be experienced as a heavy sensation, joint pain, frontal headaches and fatigue. The damp is created in the gut and is sent to the lungs as phlegm causing post nasal drip and sinus congestion. Also avoid caffeine and alcohol (which cause inflammation and dehydration).

  • Moderate exercise – Rigorous exercise with excess sweating creates inflammation in the body. Exercise to regulate your body rather than tax it.

The Do’s:

  • Eat nourishing foods. Basically eat as if you have the flu: soups, stews, oatmeal or porridge in the morning, yam and fruits.

  • Breath-work: Intentional deep breath-work is exercise for the lungs. Oxygenate your body!

  • Stay within the boundaries of your river! Pace yourself. Obey the limitations that your body is communicating to you. Give it the rest that it is asking for.

For best outcome, don’t delay coming in for an acupuncture treatment.

Book a session online here.

Image by Taylor Ifland.

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