As we approach what I hope is Act 3 of our global pandemic, I am eager to share my most valued resources, as well as a Chinese medical perspective and translation of certain practices that are now a part of our daily lives. At any given time, most of us have had different “gurus” to help guide us through this previously unchartered territory. Many have put their trust in the mainstream media and conventional medicine, while others have gone to the opposite extreme. As for myself, I think I fall somewhere in the middle, which unfortunately often ends up the target of criticism from either pole, though is genuinely where I observe to be the greatest logic.
Two follows that I am presently loving are Michael Mina, a Harvard epidemiology professor, and “Your Local Epidemiologist,” both of whom in my opinion are thinking dynamically and diplomatically about each sub-issue under our greater situation at hand.
Michael Mina’s primary advice, put succinctly, is that the key to reaching the level of success and safety that certain European countries have is through government subsidized rapid tests that most citizens can afford to regularly take themselves at home. He argues that it is misleading to think of the slower PCR tests as more accurate, because their degree of accuracy is irrelevant for our purposes. For example, a PCR test can detect only one molecule of CoVid-19 in the body, which is not nearly a sufficient quantity to be infectious; not to mention the fact that we have to wait 12 or more hours for results, during which time what we come into contact with is unknown. The rapid tests, on the other hand, are only able to detect amounts that make us infectious, which really is what is most important—plus the results are immediate. Personally, in the interest of protecting Mom, baby, and the world, I’ve begun rapid testing every Monday morning. The most recommended brands I am using are:
Michael Mina also informs that even before CoVid-19, all coronaviruses have spiked in severity and infectiousness during the November and December months and begun to gradually wane afterwards. While of course there could be variables such as people gathering indoors for the holidays, one can assume that people always gather indoors for the rest of winter as well, yet levels tend to drop. From a Chinese Medical perspective our “yang,” warming, immune-boosting energy begins gradually climbing immediately after the winter solstice. All the more reason for the next two months to regularly employ resources such as rapid tests and masks, and to support our body’s “yang energy” with warming foods such as beef, bone broth, ginger tea, and roasted vegetables. Vitamin D supplementation is also a good idea if levels are low or borderline.
Finally, I continue to feel strongly about the importance of mask-wearing. Although risk of transmission outdoors is low, I find myself keeping my mask on during the winter, for the same reason I do my hat, hood, or scarf. Chinese Medicine has always prioritized keeping all parts of the body as warm as possible, as cold air creates vasoconstriction, which decreases circulation and increases inflammation. The mouth and nose are the portals to the gastrointestinal and respiratory microbiomes respectively, which means by keeping them warm we can unburden the lungs and stomach from having to continuously send ATP upward to do so. This is the same principle as why we always advise covering our necks and heads in cold climates, so as to not put all of the responsibility on the immune system, which has more important things to do than constantly ward off acute infection.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion at the points Stomach 36 on the front of the knee, and Urinary Bladder 43 on the upper back are also excellent for improving immune function… but not to be tried at home. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to come in for a series of sessions with this intention.