The cold and flu season is fast approaching, and you know what that means: time to break out the NyQuilâ„¢, pound the vitamin C and stock up on cough drops and chicken noodle soup.
On the other hand, if youâ€™re tired of these same old tried and trialed immunity boosters, you could take a less common approach such as massage therapy, acupuncture, or even hypnotherapy.
Alternative methods to medicine are becoming increasingly pervasive in our country; the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) finds that more than 15 million Americans have turned to Oriental medicine (Clements, 2007). While Western medicine is significant and can save lives, many prefer the holistic approach of Eastern medicine.
Alternative medicinal methods can be useful in prevention and treatment of not only the common cold, but whatever ails you. CSU students apply various methods to treat their illnesses, injuries and even stress. Senior chemistry and nutrition student Jessica Egner has been seeing a chiropractor for two years to treat her persistent back pain.
â€œMy hips were rotated and my spine was curved so [the chiropractor] readjusts my hips,â€ Egner said.
She explains that it takes about a month after beginning treatment to notice the effects; your body must get used to the new positioning of the bones.
Egner had mentioned her chronic back discomfort to her physician who did not consider it a major concern. Thatâ€™s when she turned to chiropractic care and claims that â€œitâ€™s definitely been helping with the pain.â€
Chiropractic adjustments can be used to treat various injuries associated with the spine and can help improve posture, relieve neck, back, and knee pain and as Egner explains, can even slake frequent headaches.
Another method to manage your health is acupuncture. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting a small flexible needle in to the patientâ€™s skin, at a depth and location that depends on the condition. Many people are afraid to try this due to fear of needles or other uncertainties.
Christina LaCroix of Spring Creek Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Fort Collins became an acupuncturist after studying Western and Oriental medicine, ultimately choosing acupuncture because she was â€œamazed at the resultsâ€ it yielded.
â€œItâ€™s great because itâ€™s a gentle way of treating somebody so you donâ€™t have to bog them down with different medications.â€
LaCroix explains that acupuncture can benefit just about anybody, no matter the condition.
â€œAnywhere from pain to anxiety, insomnia, sinusitis, cold, allergies and women’s health disorders . . . [acupuncture] just helps your body heal itself.â€
While LaCroix focuses on acupuncture to treat her patients, she also employs herbal treatment to boost immunity and supports a combination of methods to maintain mind and body balance.
â€œI love Western medicine . . . itâ€™s great for dealing with emergent-type situations and surgery; both [Western and Oriental medicine] have their benefits and drawbacks.â€
Acupuncture treatments can run anywhere from $135 to $60 per session, depending on where you go. Colorado State University students can work with practitioners like LaCroix who offer student discounts to make it more affordable.
Some CSU students with foreign roots fuse traditional medicinal remedies with Western practices to get the most out of health care.
Samantha Yung is a senior biology major and biomedical science minor who believes Western medicine works better for her flu and cold symptoms, but utilizes massage therapy for premature osteoarthritis and Chinese medications to ease other ailments.
â€œWhen it comes to injuries like sprained tendons or ligaments or anything like that then I think Chinese medicine is better,â€ Yung said.
Yung explains that Oriental treatments can differ depending on where they are practiced. The acupuncture she received while in China, for example, involves a more extensive process than that applied here in the U.S. Clearly, health maintenance varies not only by individual need, but by country as well.
As winter weather rolls in, students should be prepared for that inevitable first cold of the season. Nothing makes studying for finals more miserable than dealing with achy muscles, runny noses and coughing fits as well. As college students, taking care of our health should be a top priority this winter season, despite the numerous other concerns we share.
The only way to know whether Eastern or Western medicinal treatments work best for you is to try them for yourself. Donâ€™t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone this winter and take control of your health.