“Dog Days” - a preventative treatment for Asthma
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is common knowledge that the best time to treat a chronic winter disease is during summer on the Summer Solstice* days, called "Dog Days". This article might find you a couple of weeks into autumn, but very good results can still be achieved treating winter conditions like Asthma and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
This idea is based on the relationship between man and universe; the principle that the human body is a microcosm of the universe. As such, seasonal changes directly influence the energy balance within the human body. In summer, Yang-hot energy is at its peak, and we "utilize" this cosmic energy to strengthen people who are constitutionally lacking Yang energy and suffer from disorders that are aggravated by cold.
The preventative treatment to Asthma is a "cold expelling" therapy. This involves the application of a homemade herbal paste on specific acupuncture points. The paste has the function of eliminating phlegm from the respiratory system and warming the lungs. It does this by penetrating through the open pores on the skin. Another method is the burning of Moxa (made from Mugwart) on the skin, (traditionally until there is a blister), to create internal warmth. Applying these therapies can help accumulate Yang-hot energy in the body, thus helping to prevent relapses in the winter, and significantly reducing the severity of asthmatic symptoms.
Acupuncture and moxibustion help readjust the body's natural mechanisms, effectively raising the body’s functioning abilities to heal itself.
Some dietary advice: eat white fungi, papaya, walnut, sesame, mushroom, cinnamon, ginger, lily root, and cardamom. (The fungi are available at Chinese groceries)
Home remedies: apply hot packs onto the naval area, neck, and lower back. Also, avoid exposure to cold air after sweating or during sleep time, and do not walk out with wet hair.
*Solstice days: Summer Solstice marks the time of the year when the days are long and temperatures rise.