Acupuncture for the Common Cold - Treatment Protocols

Below you will find some of the more common tcm diagnoses and acupuncture treatment protocols for the common cold. There are many ways to treat this condition with Eastern Medicine and our presentation is only one of many possible options.

  • Etiology & Pathology:
  • Differentiation:
    • Wind-Cold
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • An invasion of wind-cold is made possible when the Defensive Qi (Wei Qi) of the person is temporarily weaker than the force of the Pathogen. Weakened Defensive Qi (Wei Qi) may come about as a result of emotional stress, overwork, poor diet and a host of other factors.
        • Strong and/or frequent changes in environment also play a role (i.e. the effects of going outside on a cold winter day from a heated home).
        • Patient may have: An aversion to cold, shivering, low or no fever, chills predominated over feelings of heat, no sweat, occipital headache, stiff neck, body aches, slight cough, sneezing, running nose w/white discharge.
        • Tongue:  Thin white coating (indicates cold) or normal (indicates wind)
        • Pulse:  Floating, tight (indicates cold predominates) - Floating, slow (indicates wind predominates)
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Release the Exterior
        • Expel the Wind
        • Scatter the Cold
        • Restore the Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU Qi
      • Treatment Points:
        • Main Points:
          • LI 4 & LU 7 - Disperse to Move Qi in the head & face, Release the Exterior, Circulate and Descend the LU Qi.
          • UB 12 - Main point for Wind Disorders; may cup to move the LU Qi and Release the Exterior.
        • Secondary Points:
          • GB 20 & GV 16 - Main Points for Wind; use if Head/Neck Tension is pronounced.
          • UB 13 - LU Back Shu; use if Cough is pronounced to restore the descend and dispersion functions of the LU.
          • ST 36 a/or GV 14 - generally strenghten the Wei Qi.
          • Tonify KD 7 & Disperse LI 4 to induce a sweat.
    • Wind-Heat
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Similar Wind invasion via weakened Wei Qi as described above in Wind-Cold but patient presents with heat signs.
        • Patient may have: Fever and Chills w/Fever predominating, slight sweating, runny nose w/yellow discharge, headaches, body aches, cough, sore throat (more severe than wind-cold), slight thirst.
        • Tongue:  Red Sides
        • Pulse:  Floating and Fast
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Expel the Wind-Heat
        • Release the Exterior
        • Restore the Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU Qi
      • Treatment Points:
        • Main Points:
          • LI 4 & LI 11 - reduce fever.
          • GV 14 - Main point for reducing fevers, works well with LI 11 listed above.
          • TH 5 - Disperse for Wind-Heat, useful in exterior conditions.
        • Secondary Points:
          • GB 20 - Head/Neck tension, especially posterior.
          • LU 11 - Bleed point for severe sore throat w/high fever (May disperse LU 10 in cases with fever and no sore throat.
          • Possibly local points for sore throat - LI 18 a/or CV 22.
    • Wind-Dry
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Similar Wind invasion as above but patent presents with signs of dryness - occurs in the desert southwest a/or climate controlled environments.
        • Patient may have: Aversion to cold, fever, slightly sweating, dryness of nose, mouth & throat, dry cough.
        • Tongue:  Dry, slighly red in the LU/HT area
        • Pulse:  Floating
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Release the Exterior
        • Expel Wind
        • Restore the Descending & Dispersing Function of the LU Qi
        • Tonify Body Fluids
      • Treatment Points:

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were consulted within this section:

  • St. John, Meredith: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes
  • Valaskatgis, Peter: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes