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What to do for Cold & Flu Season

It's that time of year when everyone gets the sniffles or a tickle in their throat! We're at the very end of winter season and although many places around the world are getting hit with snow, spring should be just around the corner! In Ayurveda, seasonal conjunctions can create the most challenge for our bodies as we are confronted with a mix of temperatures and weather patterns. As we go into March in the Northern Hemisphere, we are cold and damp but also starting to experience warmer temperatures which naturally creates a breading ground for bacterias. This can result in more viruses, parasites, infections, allergies, digestive flare ups, skin issues and mucous build up. Our immune system is required to work extra hard to put up defences so we don't fall out of balance but sometimes, catching a typical cold or flu is inevitable. I myself am recuperating after a few recent days of feeling under the weather which is very unusual for me. I don't often get sick but this time it hit me and I had to pull out all my tried and true remedies to help me nip this one in the bud. I feel inspired to share how I kept my symptoms from getting worse and recovered quickly (without any drugs/doctors visits). Hope this will help as a go-to guide next time you are feeling a bit rundown! Wishing good health for all 🌟

The power of Nasal Cleansing

-When I feel that something is affecting my nose or throat area, the first thing I do is get out my Neti Pot. "Neti Pot" comes from the Sanskrit term "Jala Neti" which is an ancient nasal cleansing technique used in Ayurveda & Yoga. Nasal cleansing is now widely recognized as an effective at-home method for clearing the sinuses and you can even purchase saline wash kits at pharmacies or more traditional Neti Pots online or at a local natural store.

Nasal cleansing is usually indicated for Kapha dosha types or imbalances, as Kapha rules the head & upper body and is usually responsible for mucous build up that comes with common colds. Nasal cleansing can be done in a number of different ways and in fact, can be used for all doshas. Besides this, the warm saline water that is used, helps to kill sneaky bacterias which may have entered the nose or mouth, eventually reducing cold & flu symptoms with each use.

Here are some specific benefits of using a Neti Pot:

- relieves common symptoms in the ear/nose/throat region

- clears nasal passages, improves breathing and can help with snoring

- can help with diseases of the head and upper body (eg. Bronchitis, aphonia, toothache, sinus infection, migraine, neck and shoulder pain and many more!)

- helps manage and avoid allergy symptoms

- clear sinuses & sinus infections

Are you ready to try your own Neti Pot at home?! I made this great demo video several years ago and it's still super relevant today! It shows step by step instructions and it's super simple! Follow these steps and watch the video below....

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt into 2 cups of clean, filtered lukewarm water (use more water if you desire to rinse several times each side). Make sure it's a comfortable temperature to put in your nose, you want it warm but not too HOT!

  • WASH your Neti Pot with a bit of the warm salt water before use, for sanitary purposes.

  • Fill Neti Pot with warm salt water and flush nose from right to left and then left to right. Be sure to breathe slowly and deeply ONLY from your mouth if you breathe through your nose you will swallow the salt water!

  • Once you've finished both sides and repeated the desired amount of times, clear excess mucous by gently blowing your nose. Don’t blow too hard or too much as this could cause nose to re-block.

  • Stand bent over with hands on knees, move head back and forth, letting any remaining water drip out of nose. If it’s your first time you may notice A LOT of water coming out, don't worry it's normal!

  • Option to do kapalabhati (skull cleansing) pranayama. This is demonstrated in the video and can help to clear the sinuses of remaining water and mucus.

  • Repeat daily in the morning or afternoon (or both!) for as long as you wish.

Let thy food be thy medicine

I always remember my mom making us home-made chicken soup when we got sick as kids. This seems to be one of those old wives tails that's actually true! While soup may not be a direct "cure" for anything, it's definitely important to eat well while we are under the weather. The building blocks of a healthy immune system consist of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Besides taking supplements, if we want to beat a cold fast, we have to take in adequate nutrition! Any type of bone broth will be packed with all you need to stay strong and feel satisfied and you can also add in tons of mineral rich veggies, anti-viral herbs or medicinal mushrooms! The other day I made the most delicious, slow cooked soup for our house and when I was sipping it, I felt so much better! I added a ton of ginger & turmeric root, garlic, onion, oregano, rosemary, black pepper and more! Not only was the flavour out of this world, it was truly a medicinal broth which helped fight off any antibodies.

Sweat it out!

The easiest way for your body to get rid of toxins is through our sweat glands! Sweating can be found in ancient remedies, from many different cultures across the world for good reason. I'm so glad to be living in Mexico and be very close to lots of these ancient traditions like the sweat lodge (temazcal) which we typically have almost every week! Saunas have also become a huge trend in the wellness world and show many health benefits for strengthening and purifying the systems. If you have access to one of these tools, get in there and get yourself to sweat every day when you are feeling symptoms! I do, however, realize that not everyone has access to a sauna, so what are other ways to make your body sweat?? Try a hot bath or shower, a heating pad or hot water bottle, or if you feel up to it, a bit of cardio exercise! If you feel congested in the head, you can try an at home vapour treatment by hovering over a pot of hot water with a towel over your head for several minutes. Be creative!

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