Mild Sweating Soup
New York life is fast paced - we work hard, play hard and barely sleep. It can be a tough juggling act especially in cold and flu season, with temperatures that jump daily between winter and summer; dryness from steam heat and chilly air; and the stress of the approaching holidays. Eating well, getting enough rest and taking time to relax are the best ways to avoid precious time lost to illness but if you are good at paying attention to your body, you may be able to nip any winter bug before it blossoms into a cold or flu.
The key to this method can be summed up with the ancient Greek aphorism, "gnothi seauton" or know thyself. In Chinese Medicine, there is a small window of opportunity to expel an invading pathogen - we call it expelling pathogenic wind. The 'window' is the moment when pathogenic wind is trying to enter your body. When it is still on the outer surface, right at your skin layer. If you pay close attention, at this time you can notice a slight, funny feeling on your skin. Some folks may just feel a little off; a heightened sensitivity to drafts or temperature changes; maybe even a slight tingle, especially around your head, neck and shoulders. HOWEVER, this is before you actually start showing general symptoms like headache, fatigue, chills and congestion. Once you are showing these symptoms, it is too late to try this method.
If you think you are in your 'window', stay home or go home. Make an "executive decision'" to use the rest of this day to deal with your pathogenic wind, because it is just like an unwanted and unexpected visitor stopping by. Ignoring this opportunity can mean the difference between half or one sick day versus a couple days sick in bed and a bunch running around at reduced capacity and on a bunch of symptom-masking drugs.
For this method, you will need a few basic ingredients. If you don't keep these things on hand, make a stop at the store or you can do what I've been doing lately - have a service deliver to you. I have found Amazon Prime to be a great just for this situation. There is an app and if you time it right, you can have it arrive shortly after you get home. As soon as get home, change into warm, comfy pajamas. Keep warm and covered.
miso soup paste - try to get organic, non-GMO
In a small pot, boil enough water to make a couple bowls of soup. While the water is boiling, peel and cut about two inches of daikon radish into thin slices and set aside. Chop the scallions into thin slices at an angle and set aside. Once the water is boiling, add about a tablespoon of the miso paste and the daikon radish and reduce heat to a simmer. Once the radish becomes translucent, the soup is done. Remove from heat and top off with a big handful of scallions.
Eat your soup and immediately go to bed and get under covers. You should feel a slight sweat - this is the whole point. The radish and scallions encourage a slight sweat, in addition to the temperature and being wrapped up. Miso is fermented soy bean paste, so you are getting probiotics to nourish your gut microbiome. Research over the past few years has shown the gut microbiome to be a huge factor in immunity and brain function. There is no need to go crazy like trying to sweat it out in a sauna. If you sweat too much it can actually tax your body, making you weaker and more susceptible to the pathogenic wind. The key is to sweat just enough to push the wind out.
If you feel like you missed the window or just want to take that extra step to "secure your exterior" as we say in Chinese Medicine, take note of any symptoms or changes and make an appointment ASAP (email me directly and I'll try to fit you in). If possible, don't take any medications before your appointment so I can see what is actually going on.
It takes a bit of practice to learn how to recognize the 'window'. I think this is particularly because in our society, we are taught to keep going until we basically collapse. This method requires you to shift your mindset about illness and wellness - essentially asking you to giving up a little bit of time on the front end in exchange for a reduced intensity, duration and even frequency of illness on the back end.
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