Prof. Jonathan Liu introduced home self-aid tips such as acupoints massage and traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions, and explained how to prevent the elderly from becoming seriously ill after being infected by COVID-19.(Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock)
The Epoch Times
By Amber Yang and JoJo Novaes
A new wave of COVID-19 is circulating through mainland China, while around the world, the pandemic still lingers. With insufficient medicine supply and healthcare resources in some cities of China, some are seeking do-it-yourself treatment methods to relieve symptoms such as fever, cough, and sore throat caused by the infection.
In an interview with Health 1+1 Jonathan Liu, a professor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) at a Canadian public college, introduced a few self-help tips, including acupoints massage and a TCM prescription. He also explained how to prevent the elderly from becoming seriously ill during a COVID infection.
From the perspective of human immunology, fever signals that the body is fighting a virus. According to Liu, this is a healthy sign. In a clinical sense, as long as the body temperature is below 38.5 C (101.3 F), no special treatment is needed. In particular, there is no need to take antipyretics, as this will inhibit the body’s natural immune system from its normal, self-healing function.
The best action for this type of fever is to drink plenty of water and take adequate rest. If discomfort persists, a warm bath or swabbing the body with a towel soaked with warm water mixed with alcohol may bring relief.
If the body temperature remains persistently above 39 C (102.2 F), you can take an appropriate amount of antipyretics (substances that reduce fever) according to the doctor’s instructions.
If antipyretics are not immediately available, massage each of the Hegu and Quchi acupoints 100 to 200 times, is also effective in reducing fever. Massaging the Dazhui, Fengmen, and Feishu points may also be effective.
Another option is to use cupping therapy (special cups to create suction by heating before application) on these acupoints for 15 to 20 minutes. The fever can be reduced after a few rounds. For people with severe cough, massage (use a massage stick if needed) the Hegu, and Lieque, or apply cupping to stimulate these acupoints.
Chinese medicine has discovered a “meridian” system inside the human body that is responsible for transporting the “qi” (vital energy) and “blood” (both body essentials) around the body. They are the basic substances that constitute the human body and maintain its physiological activities. Qi and blood circulate continuously inside the body to keep the various tissues and organs stable and in balance.
“Acupoint” is a unique term in TCM and primarily refers to special points on the meridians of the body. Most acupoints are located at numerous nerve endings and blood vessels. Chinese medicine can stimulate the corresponding acupoints through acupuncture, massage, cupping, and other means. All these stimulations can strengthen the circulation of the qi and blood, overcome blockage of the meridians, restore the meridian system to normalcy, and thus cure disease.
Cupping is a traditional therapy technique in TCM, so called because it uses a “can” or “cup” in its application. Before placing the cup on the relevant acupoints, a burning flame is applied, and the balmy air inside is extracted/removed to generate suction on the acupoints or body surface. In this way, it can stimulate the acupoints to achieve the aim of preventing and treating diseases.
For the treatment of the elderly, Liu made a special recommendation: Even if the fever is mild—if their spirits are down, they are feeling sleepy all the time, or have a mild cough, attention is due. With diminished immune function, the elderly may not present with a high fever. Many may have either no or just a low fever—but this does not necessarily mean that the illness is not serious. It is essential to pay extra care in tending to the health of the elderly.
A Few Ways to Avoid Serious Illness in the Elderly
After the COVID-19 virus invades the human body, it quickly reduces immune function. As the elderly generally have diminished immune function and may also suffer from long-term chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, it’s not uncommon to find that the infection can further compromise their organs.
To reduce the chance of severe illness in the elderly after infection, Liu suggests paying special attention to the following points:
1. Practice a balanced and healthy diet
Malnutrition is often one of the main causes of severe illness in the elderly. After being infected with COVID-19, the immune function is further degraded, triggering bacterial infections. In addition, since most parts of the northern hemisphere are in winter now, other viral and bacterial infections have become prevalent, leading to chronic pneumonia and causing more deaths in the elderly.
2. Attention to cardiovascular health
COVID-19 infection will exacerbate any cardiovascular disease already suffered by the elderly and can manifest as myocardial infarction, severe arrhythmia, shock, and even death.
Liu suggested that the elderly manage their chronic diseases properly, including stabilizing blood sugar and pressure. At the same time, they should maintain sufficient rest and sleep, avoid tension and fear, and maintain a stable mental state.
Liu also suggests daily massage of several healthcare acupoints, including Hegu, Zusanli, Fengmen, Feishu, and Neiguan.
TCM Prescription to Relieve Symptoms of Infection
Liu said that there is currently no wonder drug for treating COVID-19 infection, and there is only symptomatic treatment to alleviate symptoms. If you suffer from a high fever, sore throat, body pain, fast pulse rate, or red tongue, you can take Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Minor Bupleurum Decoction).
Xiao Chai Hu Tang originates from the “Treatise on Febrile Diseases,” written by Zhang Zhongjing, a medical scientist in the Eastern Han Dynasty.
Prepare the following and take in soup form:
- 30 grams (1.1 ounces) bupleurum
- 10 grams (0.35 ounces) scutellaria
- 40 grams (1.4 ounces) forsythia
- 15 grams (0.53 ounces) gypsum
- 10 grams (0.35 ounces) nemarrhena
- 10 grams (0.35 ounces) campanulaceae
- three slices of ginger
- five jujubes
- 5 grams (0.18 ounces) licorice
- Put all ingredients into a pot of water
- Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for an hour
Some of the herbs mentioned above may be unfamiliar, but many of them can be found at health food stores, Asian grocery stores, or online, at:
Epoch Health articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. Have a question? Email us at HealthReporter@epochtimes.nyc