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Support Your Recovery From Covid19 And Long Covid


Ever since mid November 2019, a respiratory disease has changed the lives of almost everyone on Earth. This disease is none other than COVID-19. COVID-19 also known as Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus [1]. It can cause mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and individuals may recover without requiring special treatment. However, older people and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease or cancer can become seriously ill and require medical attention.

Some patients may suffer from Long Covid where they continue to experience symptoms that last for weeks or months after recovery from Covid-19. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms which affect everyday functioning.[2]

 

What is Covid-19 from a TCM perspective?

 

 

In TCM terms, COVID-19 is considered a Wen Yi (瘟疫) which broadly refers to a type of disease that is highly contagious and epidemic. The concept of a Wen Yi was first brought up by Wu Youke (1582–1652) who developed the idea that some diseases were caused by transmissible agents, which he called Li Qi (戾气 or pestilential factors[3]. In layman’s terms, the cause of a Wen Yi is thought to be due to a specific external pathogen which is not one of the 6 commonly talked about external pathogens in TCM namely – Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, Dryness and Fire.

 

How to prevent getting Covid-19 the TCM way

 

  1. Exercise

Daily exercise is a good way to elevate our mood and strengthen our immune system. Not only does exercise help us prevent metabolic diseases and excessive weight gain, it also strengthens and prepares our immune system for COVID-19. Exercise improves the competence and vigilance of our immune system in the detection of threats as well as reduces the severity of our immune system’s inflammatory response toward new threats[4].

Being active either indoors or outdoors through brisk walking, stair climbing, housework and/or playing active games with the family can be effective. More importantly, we should avoid prolonged sitting (>60-min)[5].

 

Physician Lim’s exercise tips

Jogging, cycling, and swimming are all good forms of aerobic exercise that can help get our heart pumping and our sweat dripping. Although the recommendation is to reach a heart rate of at least 130 beats per minute for 30 minutes every time we exercise, it is ok to start slow if you have not been living an active lifestyle. Instead, a light sweat for every session would suffice. For those who are trying to quit a sedentary lifestyle, try to achieve a heart rate where it is possible to talk but impossible to sing. That would be the sweet spot for you, maintain that heart rate for 30 minutes.

 

  1. TCM Herbal Remedies

In TCM, there is a saying – Yao Shi Tong Yuan “药食同源” which translates to certain Chinese medicine can also be considered food! What this alludes to is that good nutrition through a proper diet can give our body the means to prevent and fight off infections thereby allowing our body to stay healthy and functioning properly. A warm tea with special Chinese herbal ingredients can be a perfect immunity-boosting beverage. However, should an actual COVID-19 infection occur, proper nutrition alone might not be enough as the medication will have to be taken to fight off the infection that has already taken hold in the body. Thus, make sure not to self-medicate and always consult a physician first.

 

Try Physician Lim’s Immunity strengthening tea

Ingredients – for a single person’s portion:

  • Huo Xiang (藿香) 5g – Also known as Korean Mint, is a warm, pungent herb that has the effect of transforming Dampness and revitalising the Spleen.
  • Jin Yin Hua (金银花) 5g – Also known as Japanese Honeysuckle flower, is a cold, sweet herb that has strong Heat-clearing and detoxification properties.
  • Cao Guo (草果) 3g – Also known as Tsaoko, is warm, pungent herb that is able to Tonify the Spleen and remove Dampness.
  • Lu Gen (芦根) 10g – Also known as Reed Rhizome, is a cold, sweet herb that has Heat-clearing and body fluid promoting properties.
  • Bai Mao Gen (白茅根) 10g – Also known as Lalang Grass Rhizome, is a cold, sweet herb that has Blood-cooling, Heat-clearing and diuretic properties.

These 5 herbs can be steeped in a teapot using hot water for about 20 minutes to produce a refreshing beverage that can clear Dampness and Heat thereby helping to strengthen our immune system and prevent us from falling sick. Hot water can be refilled into the teapot once the tea is consumed. It is safe to continue drinking one portion until all the flavour has dissipated.

 

 

If you have been unfortunate enough to be infected by the SARS CoV-2 and had a positive ART result, here are some things you can do in the meantime to speed up your recovery from COVID-19:

  1. Get ample rest and stay at home. You can recover at home if you are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms.
  2. Consume some Lian Hua Qing Wen capsules to help speed up the clearance of the symptoms of the infection. Lian Hua Qing Wen capsule is a TCM over-the-counter drug based on Traditional Chinese Medicine formula that has been proven to significantly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication, alter the viral morphology and provide anti-inflammatory activity in vitro[7]. A study of its efficacy done on 284 patients found that it provided therapeutic effects on COVID-19 infection by improving the recovery rate of symptoms, shortening the recovery time, and improving the recovery of chest radiologic abnormalities[8] i.e. white patches on Xray or CT showing signs of pneumonia.
  3. Ensure proper hydration. Drink plenty of water so that your body has plenty of opportunities to flush out toxins and stay cool.

 

If you have already tested negative for a few days but are still feeling the effects of the infection, do visit a doctor to seek medical attention. Social interaction should be minimised while you are feeling unwell. If your symptoms/after-effects continue, you may be experiencing Long COVID and it is recommended to see a physician to help with your Long COVID recovery.

 

 

How can ORG help manage Long COVID?

Long COVID treatment usually revolves around addressing the symptoms (e.g. shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, changes to taste and smell, joint pain) while simultaneously helping the Lung, Kidney and Spleen regain their function.

Shortness of breath is usually attributed to poor Lung and Kidney function; fatigue and brain fog is typically attributed to weakened Spleen function; changes to taste and smell is usually due to impaired function of the Lung and Spleen while joint pain is usually attributed to Qi stagnation and Blood stasis.

Herbs and acupuncture are usually used concurrently for treatment to provide better results. Treatment duration can vary depending on individual constitution and last between 1 month to 6 months.

Commonly used herbal formulas include Zhu Ye Shi Gao decoction (竹叶石膏汤), Bu Zhong Yi Qi decoction (补中益气汤), Ding Chuan decoction (定喘汤), Qiang Huo Sheng Shi decoction (羌活胜湿汤) and Shen Tong Zhu Yu decoction (身痛逐瘀汤).

Useful acupuncture points for the treatment of Long COVID usually involve meridians of the above-mentioned Organs and their satellite Organs. For instance, the satellite Organ of the Lung is the Large Intestine; the satellite Organ of the Spleen is the Stomach and the satellite Organ of the Kidney is the Bladder. Common acupuncture/acupressure points used are indicated in the table below.

 

Meridian Acupoints
For shortness of breath


Lung (LU)

How to locate:

尺泽 LU5 – The point is on the outer side of the elbow’s inner crease. This point is located with the elbow slightly flexed.

孔最 LU6 – About 8 fingers and a thumb away from the wrist crease.

列缺 LU7 – 2 fingers away from the wrist crease.

For fatigue and brain fog


Large Intestine (LI)

How to locate:

合谷 LI4 – Bend the thumb to touch the point between the thumb and index finger of your other hand. Hegu point will be on the tip of the thumb.

曲池 LI11 – In the depression on the outer elbow when slightly bent.

迎香 LI20 – At the level of the midpoint of the lateral border of ala nasi (next to your nostrils).

 

For shortness of breath


Kidney (KI)

How to locate:

太溪 KI3 – In the depression behind the protruding ankle bone.

照海 KI6 – In the inner side of the foot, on the depression below the tip of the protruding ankle bone.

复溜 KI7 – 2 thumbs directly above 太溪 KI3.

 

For memory, attention issues and brain fog

 

Bladder (BL)

How to locate:

天柱 BL10 – Two points on the lower end of your back hairline.

申脉 BL 62 – On the outer side of the foot, in the depression directly below the protruding point of the ankle.

 

Changes to taste and smell

 

Spleen (SP)

How to locate:

三阴交 SP6 – 4 fingers directly above the tip of the protruding ankle bone.

阴陵泉 SP9 – On the inner side of the leg, 4 fingers below the knee cap.

 

For changes to appetite and lethargy

 

Stomach (ST)

How to locate:

足三里 ST36 – 4 fingers below the kneecap, about 1 thumb towards the outer edge.

梁丘 ST34 – 2 thumbs above the kneecap.

 

 

It is recommended for you to visit a certified TCM physician for acupuncture. You can also massage these points for up to 5 minutes, 2 times a day to help alleviate your Long COVID symptoms. Use the tip of your thumb or the joint on your thumb to knead these points for best effects, you should feel a dull ache.

For a more holistic diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan, consult a certified TCM physician and do not self-diagnose. And if your Long COVID symptoms continue to worsen or are severe despite TCM treatment, do seek western medical attention immediately.

 

Your healing is the most important!

At Oriental Remedies Group, our physicians are trained in both Biomedical Science and TCM at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and China for a minimum of 5-8 years before being certified to practice in Singapore.

If you or a loved one is suffering from health conditions in relation to Long Covid, we would like to help. Please contact us at +65 8742 2163 for a personalised consultation.

—–

This article is written by Physician Lim Jing Yang.

Physician Lim is a TCM physician at Oriental Remedies Group, a patient-centred healthcare provider offering effective treatments grounded in TCM and enhanced with medical technology.

Physician Lim Jing Yang

Senior Physician

Physician Lim clinched the prestigious China Government Scholarship to pursue a 3-year Master’s course in BUCM. His exposure to the wards and outpatient clinics in Dongzhimen Hospital, granted him vast knowledge of integrative approaches used in China, both in TCM and western medicine.

Physician Lim’s utmost passion is to help patients in their male sexual function, fertility and health. He is also knowledgeable about female menstrual issues and fertility due to the strong working connections he has with his colleagues in the gynecology department in Dongzhimen Hospital. We look forward to helping more parents conceive happy babies with Physician’s Lim expertise.

Note: all words in Italics mentioned henceforth refer to the TCM organ system and not the anatomical organs/terms referenced in western medicine.

 

Disclaimer:

The content on this page is for information and educational purposes only. Such medical information may relate to disease, injury, drugs and other treatments, medical devices and/or health products. Medical information does not amount to advice, and if advice is needed an appropriate professional help should be sought. The disclaimer asserts that no warranties or representations are given in respect of the medical information, and that the website operator should not be held liable if a user suffers any injury or loss after relying upon the medical information.

 

References:

[1]: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1

[2]: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Flong-term-effects.html

[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plague_in_the_late_Ming_dynasty

[4]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7387807/

[5]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7165095/

[6]:https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/askst-can-vaccination-reduce-symptoms-of-long-covid

[7]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7102548/

[8]: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711320300738

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