I’ve written previously about treating COVID-19 with Chinese medicine, but as time goes on I’m being contacted by more and more people suffering with what’s being called ‘Long COVID’ – the lingering after-effects of Coronavirus that can last weeks and months after the initial infection.
Because of its unique understanding of the process of illness, Chinese medicine has a lot to offer here, and I’m finding Chinese herbal medicine especially effective (it also has the distinct advantage that it can be practised remotely during times of lockdown!)
Chinese Medicine For Long COVID
Chinese medicine describes all kinds of viruses, including COVID, as ‘external evils’. The concept is that something from outside the body (‘external’) attacks us, and a fight ensues between the attacking ‘evil’ and your own defences. The outcome depends on the relative strengths of the 2 forces.
If you have strong defences and the attacker is weak you fight off the invader and don’t even notice it. If they’re evenly matched you develop some symptoms for a little while, and then they go away once you manage to fight off the virus.
But the thing with COVID is that it’s extremely powerful, and able to overcome even the strongest defences. In fact, it sometimes wipes out your defensive energy completely and stays put in the body, leading to long lasting symptoms. This is so called ‘long COVID’.
So what to do about it?
Second step, seek treatment during the initial infection
Third step (even if you haven’t done the other 2) – Get some help to bolster up your diminished immune system so it can do its job of getting rid of the what remain of the invading virus.
Recovering Fully After COVID
The problem is, a battle with a strong enemy takes its toll. So, after a while, although you feel better you are still very depleted. Your Qi levels are low. As soon as you exert yourself you use up the little energy you have in the tank and get completely wiped out.
The common symptoms of long COVID include cough and shortness of breath, fatigue and headache, palpitations, pins and needles and brain fog. These are all signs of under functioning of the body, or a lack of Qi. Symptoms will differ for each person, reflecting the overall constitution and pre-existing individual weaknesses.
So you need to make sure you don’t go back to ‘normal’ too quickly after a COVID infection – make sure to get plenty of rest, eat well, and get as much sleep as you need.
Chinese herbs are invaluable here. A full Chinese diagnosis can target your personal areas of weakness, and an individualised herbal formula will boost your Qi and/or Blood as required, strengthen the immune system, and regulate and balance the whole body. A few weeks of herbs could prevent months of fatigue and on-and-off cycling of symptoms.
At the moment, conventional Western medicine has nothing to offer for long COVID, but the effects can be extremely debilitating. As more and more people get infected and (partially) recover we will be seeing more of these kinds of symptoms. If you are anyone you know are suffering in this way, do know that there is help out there!