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Post-viral recovery advice from Chinese Medicine

You will have noticed this winter that there are a heck of a lot of viruses going around Upwey. The return to normal life after 2 years of repeated COVID lockdowns and distancing measures in Melbourne have meant that this year has brought a few unwelcome bonuses.

Whether you catch a cold, the flu, coronavirus, gastro, or any of the other nasties that are flying about, it is very important to focus on how you look after yourself as you recover from the virus to ensure your optimum return to health.


First, prevention. Chinese Medicine teaches that by keeping our energy strong and not becoming emotionally overwhelmed we are less likely to fall sick. It is believed that by keeping in balance as much as possible, it might be possible to avoid some bugs, or if we do catch them, have a milder illness, or bounce back faster. Avoid overexerting yourself when you feel tired, manage your stress levels, and practise daily self care.

Your recovery

During an illness it is extremely important to rest, eat well, drink fluids and allow the body time to heal. If you have fallen sick and are now recovering, the following advice may help aid a better recovery.

Rest – even if you’re feeling better

Be careful not to fall into the trap of rushing back to do everything as you did prior to your virus. If you have completed your 7-day isolation period, and you feel you should be better, but you are still tired or have some lingering symptoms, keep resting and take life as easy as you can. Chinese Medicine teaches that if your energy dips again right after an illness you may be more likely to see a return or worsening of symptoms.

Energy and immunity strengthening: the Traditional Chinese Medicine guide

It’s a marathon not a sprint

Pace yourself on your return to work, commitments, and exercise regimes. For exercise it is recommended that after recovery you wait another week or 2 to recommence your program, and start with shorter and less strenuous sessions, slowly building back up to where you were rather than trying to pick up where you left off.

Food as medicine

Sometimes it can be difficult to make healthy eating choices after being ill. This is particularly true if we cannot taste or smell foods properly, or our energy is extremely low leading to sugar or salt cravings.

Try to choose foods that are simple to digest and rich in slow release energy, and keep fluid intake up. If your appetite has decreased try gradually increasing foods to build your strength back up and increasing portion sizes. You may want to consider starting with nourishing chunky soups, or slow-cooked stews or casseroles in small portions.

If you do feel energy dips and crave sugar, try to choose healthy sweet alternatives like medjool dates, dried apricots, or stewed apples rather than reaching for biscuits.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine

In my Upwey clinic this year I have been seeing many patients in the post-viral phase and working with acupuncture and herbs. So if you have any lingering issues, or you want to try to restore your energy to pre-viral levels, once you are feeling up to it be sure to book in for a few treatments.

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash.

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