Written by Dr. James Ho

When it comes to the season of sending our children back to school, the only thing parents are thinking of is “safety”. Parents may be worried about the typical sicknesses, along with COVID 19, spreading quickly among close quartered classmates. While there are quite a few measures that schools are taking to prevent the spread of illnesses, there are additional measures that can be taken outside of the classroom. Moreover, even as summer ends we may need some tips to maintain the health of our family during any last heat waves. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), along with proper hygiene, hand washing and nutrition, offer preventive strategies and measurements to keep our little one’s immune system strong, healthy and able to fight off bacteria throughout the entirety of their school year and beyond, protecting the whole family.

Here are some key principles and practices from TCM that can help promote well-being during this period:

  • A common TCM recommendation to all patients is to give children room temperature liquids rather than the icy cold beverages. Also do not drink too much water at once to avoid shocking your system – instead of chugging your water after a day out, try to drink smaller amounts more frequently throughout the day.
  • Another side effect of summer comes from artificially cold environments. Be careful not to blast the air conditioning directly on your neck, shoulders, and back to avoid muscle spasms or colds, especially while you are sweating. 
  • Eat foods that boost immunity—strengthening the immune system is vital to prevent illness. TCM suggests consuming immune-enhancing foods like ginger, garlic, onions and green leafy vegetables. Herbal remedies such as astragalus and ginseng may also be considered under professional guidance.  With the extreme hot weather, we should eat foods that are cooling in nature to reduce the heat in our bodies. This includes cucumbers, avocados, asparagus, spinach, celery, bok choy, mushroom, seaweed, bitter melon, mung bean and mung bean sprouts, radish, dandelion greens, and tomatoes. Recommended fruits include apples, pears, watermelon, bananas, and berries.
  • Support proper sleep habit. After summer vacation, regular and sufficient quality of sleep is crucial for children’s growth and development. Establish a consistent sleep routine, ensuring they get an appropriate amount of rest at night. Avoid electronic devices before bedtime, as the blue light can disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Practice stress reduction. As kids get ready to go back to school, they may experience excitement or anxiety over the new academic year, or not feel ready for school. High levels of stress can impact children’s physical and mental health. Teach stress management techniques like relaxation exercises, meditation and spending quality time with loved ones. TCM therapies like acupuncture and herbal remedies may also help balance the body’s energy and relieve stress.

In addition, there are certain things that can be used to help boost your child’s immune system, apart from a regular schedule, healthy food, and exercise. Chinese medicine emphasizes improving your bodily constitution to prevent developing disease. Although this natural treatment may sound appealing, there are often hesitations among parents to bring their children in for an appointment. After all, children do not usually do well when faced with any type of needle. Acupuncture needling is different than what we traditionally think of when we think of shots and is very gentle. We also have other techniques such as pediatric Tui Na (a specific type of Chinese bodywork) and herbal medicine to help combat germ exposure. Such treatments can be implemented both before sickness as a preventative measure, or during illness to reduce symptoms.

It is essential to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner or healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations based on individual needs and health conditions. Integrating TCM principles into daily routines can contribute to a healthy back-to-school experience by nurturing holistic wellbeing. As we head back to school and back to our routines in the coming weeks, consider getting ahead on your and your child’s health by scheduling an appointment with Zócalo Wellness. We hope that you will consider our natural treatments to keeping your family safe, healthy and happy while learning vital information for their future. Their immune system will thank you for it.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog post is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.