Contemporary medicine and coronavirus
Bubonic plague and cholera. Two pandemics that, broadly speaking, the world no longer fears thanks in large part to a combination of improved sanitation and effective vaccination and treatment.
Together they have been responsible for well over 30 million deaths. Neither disease has been completely wiped out. Indeed, it’s estimated that there are up to 4 million cases of cholera worldwide every year that result in up to 120,000 deaths.
But while there are pockets of the world where both diseases continue to be recorded, as a society we no longer worry about them in terms of pandemic threat because, clinically speaking, they are under control.
As we have seen with the recent extension to social distancing measures announced by the government, the coronavirus that we now know as Covid-19 is far from under control and we live our lives under a daily threat of infection that is higher in some places than it is in others.
What the world is crying out for, as it did with polio, cholera and more besides, is a vaccine.
In response, the global medical community has rallied to that cause and there are many different drug and vaccine trials under way around the world, among them hydroxychloroquine – the malaria drug Donald Trump notoriously promoted in the fight against coronavirus by saying, ‘What have you got to lose? Take it.’
The four most prominent trial registers globally* show that as of August 2020 there were 1,858 trials being carried out in pursuit of a solution to the pandemic.
Of these, just 7 per cent incorporate some element of traditional and Chinese medicine within them and it’s perhaps unsurprising to find that the majority of trials where complementary medicine is a feature are based in China and India.
If you’re familiar with my blogs, then you’ll know that I am a huge advocate of an integrative approach to healing.
Integrative health approaches recognise that there is an ecosystem of effective health management in which clinical or alternative medicine approaches can be supported by complementary therapy and lifestyle management to achieve an effective health outcome.
Only the most reckless alternative therapist would suggest that alternative medicine alone can prevent or treat Covid-19, but we do know that lifestyle and general health can be major factors in determining the level of risk an individual might face should they become infected.
We know, for example, that the Covid-19 mortality rate is higher in those with underlying health conditions like obesity and diabetes, both of which can be a result of lifestyle choices that reduce natural immunity – choices that are often fuelled by mental health conditions such as stress and anxiety.
We also know that people with a strong and healthy immune system are less likely to be infected in the first place.
So, it stands to reason and logic that if we can find a way to help people to change the way they manage their emotional health and then make different lifestyle choices around diet, nutrition and exercise, we can also help to foster improved immunity.
Acupuncture is a brilliant treatment for helping to manage mental health conditions such as stress and anxiety and by dialling down on these factors, we are then in a better and more positive frame of mind to be able to make adjustments and improvements to other areas of our life.
Together with the clinical treatments that are available to support people on that journey, there’s a chance that complementary therapies like acupuncture that are delivered within a framework of integrative health management can make a positive contribution in turning the tide of infection.
In just over a week the clocks will go back and we officially come into autumn. The season brings with it damper, colder weather that is often punctuated by short spells of warmer temperature – it’s the kind of seasonal soup that bugs thrive in. Irrespective of coronavirus and Covid-19, it’s a good time to give your immune system an MoT.
Acupuncture is a great aid to better immunity because it works as a holistic treatment to clear blockages within the channels through which Qi, our life force, flows. This natural energy governs the health of our organs and, therefore, our general physical and emotional wellbeing.
In my next blog I’ll be looking at how you can use the power of acupuncture to make sure you’re in the best possible position to face the health challenges that autumn and winter ultimately present – and this year more than any other.
Until then, stay safe – and if you’d like to know more about how acupuncture can help you to enjoy better health, please get in touch for a confidential and informal chat.