Lying in bed all week, sick with the flu, has given me a lot of time to think. About my life, my health, about how much it truly stinks to be stuck inside when it’s a perfect beach day.
It makes more sense to get sick in the fall or winter. Everything around you is dying, and it’s the perfect time for cozying up with a book and some Netflix flicks. But while our bodies may not always cooperate with the calendar, they do have a rhythm and synchronicity of their own.
A tree is the perfect example of a being in harmony with the seasons. In the Spring, it is focused on new growth, with an energy that moves upwards and out. Summer brings its greatest exuberance, with leaves a full- green canopy. It is the time for exaltation of the new being that was created in the Spring. After all the hustle and bustle of the summer, it is time to start drawing in, and preparing to let go. In Autumn, we see the most beautiful colors in the tree’s leaves, and just as they are at their peak, they float away. This mini-death is vital, for the leaves of one cycle create the fertile soil for the next. Ahh and winter… the tree is barren, it’s roots covered with snow and ice. It appears that all is quiet and dead, but there is the activity of rumination, of a thought of what is to be created next.
Humans go through these cycles as well. However, it seems that in addition to our connection to nature around us, we also have inner seasons that correspond with our own physical and emotional clockwork. Me getting sick was my body’s way of telling me that I needed a little bit of winter quiet.
Of course, I do believe in things like viral and bacterial infections. But, I also believe that a healthy strong body given healthy foods, water, fresh air, exercise and outlets for stress-relief, will fight off these nasty bugs. So in my case, my body was telling me that I was overloaded ~ perhaps with too much stress, or sugar, or caffeine; or undernourished of a lightness and vitality that is necessary to be truly in sync with summer. In my Acupuncture practice in Falmouth, MA, I give some of the following suggestions to my patients:
What to do if you do get sick:
- Recognize that it’s an opportunity for your body to cleanse and mind to quiet
- Follow your mom’s advice to get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids and eat soup
- Eat lightly ~ and focus on foods with a high water-content, like fruits and veggies
- Avoid caffeine as it’s dehydrating, and sugars, which suppress your immune system
- Try making healing teas or taking Chinese herbal remedies like Yin Qiao or Gan Mao Ling
If your sickness includes: head and body aches, chills, and a mild fever without sweating, try this healing decoction.
- Chop up 3-4 scallions and a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root.
- Bring to a boil in 2-3 cups of water.
- Turn heat down and let scallions and ginger simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add brown sugar to taste.
- Drink a cup of this mixture at first signs of sickness, and the remaining a few hours later.