Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Can acupuncture help with the cold?

I recently heard that the cold can be treated with acupuncture, alongside other medications. Is this true?

32 Answers

I assume you mean an acute cold virus infection? If so, yes, it helps. In fact, it helps better WITHOUT other medications which cause toxicity and present their own deleterious effects.
Drug therapy is the new way to treat. Thousands of years vs. less than 80 years.
Acupuncture can treat cold, even without alongside medications
Acupuncture boosts the immune system to fight the cold
Acupuncture can actually treat a cold with or without medications. When my patients develop a cold or flu, I will treat them with acupuncture but also give them a list of home remedies so they can avoid taking any over the counter medications. However, if an antibiotic or another medication is necessary, acupuncture can help support the medication and prevent any side effects from it.
Yes, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and Chinese herbs are good ways to help treat colds, alleviate symptoms, shorten the duration, and recover sooner.
Acupuncture is the best way for a cold. Usually only one session can cure.
Yes, we know which points and meridians are open and susceptible for cold or help to block and balance.
Yes that's true
Yes. We use a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas. Though usually, the Chinese herbs alone are enough.
Here is my go to protocol for Cold & Flu Prevention

One of the greatest contributions Chinese medicine offers the West is the availability of herbs and herbal formulas that directly attack viral infections causing the common cold, influenza, upper respiratory infections and other viral infections such as shingles. When it comes to viral infections Western medicine is at a total loss, offering at best bed rest and fluids, and at worse, antibiotics.

Why do I say worse? Antibiotics work on bacteria and are essentially ineffective against a virus and do nothing to alter the time frame of an infection, Antibiotics can however, negatively impact the body’s immune system. Antibiotics destroy as many as five hundred different species of beneficial gut bacteria and promote the growth of the fungus Candida Albicans (yeast.)

Why Try Chinese Antiviral Herbs? In a nutshell, over the counter (OTC) medications don’t cure the flu but they can help you feel better by treating symptoms such as aches, coughs, and sore throats. Antibiotics do NOT work against the flu because it is caused by a virus and not by bacteria. Tamiflu can be dangerous and has side effects many wish to avoid.

When it comes to cold or flu that start as a sore throat and then moves into nasal congestion and muscle aches, the medicine of choice is YIN QIAO JIE DU WAN. This formula works best when taken in the first 10-12 hours of a wind heat presentation and is an effective preventative when the slightest symptoms of scratchy throat or headache appear, often stopping a cold or flu in its tracks, making it a must-have for teachers!

Already Have a Cold or Flu? GAN MAO LING is perhaps the most useful product when a common cold is developing beyond the help of YIN QIAO JIE DU WAN and the symptoms of sore throat, sinus congestion, muscle aching, headache or slight fever are more severe. Almost 70% of this formula consists of three herbs. These three antiviral herbs are so powerful they have received a fair amount of attention by Chinese researchers and clinicians.

My personal favorite is CHUAN XIN LIAN. Another powerful, three-herb combination is good for severe sore throat and I would also recommend it for acute hepatitis and even shingles outbreaks. It’s my go-to for anything angry, red or swollen be it viral or bacterial.

Ban Lan Gen (Isatis root) is the main antiviral used in several of the formulas and is helpful when used as a preventative. You can drink it daily in a ‘tea’ and it tastes a bit like honey.

What Chinese Antivirals Should I Buy? All of them! Keep a supply handy at home because remember, a cold or flu will go from first symptom to full-blown in a matter of hours and it’s best to shut it down before it has a chance to start rather than focus on treating the symptoms and trying to boost the immune system to recover faster. Prevention is the key.

Pesticides. The secret ingredient in Chinese herbs. Traditional Chinese herbs have a strong reputation for their medicinal benefits, but a Greenpeace East Asia investigation has revealed that many of these herbs are coated in a toxic cocktail of pesticide residues, posing long-term health risks instead. We caution against purchasing inexpensive, off-brand Chinese herbal formulas as Asia markets or online or even reputable brand purchased from Amazon or other online marketplaces due to the high probability of inadvertently purchasing a counterfeit. At East Lake Acupuncture we are very selective about the manufacturers we buy from and each is well-researched. If you wish to purchase herbs or supplements online we are happy to set you up with a Wellevate account, which will give you access to hundreds of your favorite brands from a distributor you can trust.
Yes, acupuncture can be used to treat the common cold. We have specific points that relate back to supporting the lungs and assist in helping your body to heal.
Acupuncture can help accelerate the healing process or the shorten the length of the cold. It won't make it magically disappear, as the virus or infection has to take its course through the body. Acupuncture is great for building up the immune system which helps you fight off colds/infections. It can help lower the immune response, affecting histamine release, help unblock nasal passages, aid in headaches, relax you so you can get proper rest, and so on. But these results are best achieved at the onset of a cold.
Lifestyle choices such as poor eating habits, not getting enough sleep, improper hygiene, obesity, stress, etc. are in large part to blame. Some forms of the flu or viruses out there nowadays are quite virulent and even if you do take extra good care of yourself, you still may get sick. But one is less likely if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (vitamin C among many other helpful nutrients that promote immune system health), get enough and regular sleep, avoid stress, exercise regularly and so on. Chinese medicine recommends eating well cooked vegetables in the winter time. It aids in digestion and keeps you in tune with the natural rhythms of the body's cycles.
If wash your hands frequently in the winter that's great, but using good quality hand moisturizer is key to avoid skin breaks where viruses can sneak in. I personally think a lot of people spread germs through door handles. So use a glove or your sleeve when opening doors. Good luck and good health!!!
Hi there,

Please see your regular physician to diagnose your cold condition first and get any recommendation and referral. Having said that, TCM does have chi kung techniques, acupuncture techniques, and herbal remedies to help with colds. Please talk to both your physician and acupuncturist to best diagnose your condition.
Yes, acupuncture can help with moderating the effects of cold and flu virus. Best to boost the immune system continually, to ward off getting the pathogens. This can be assisted via a diet that incorporates the energetic properties of foods based on your individual constitution.
Yes, there is a very long and successful history of using Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbs, body treatments such as cupping, etc) to treat the common cold and flu.

Acupuncture can be used along with other medications (natural supplements, herbs or pharmaceuticals) in treating a cold. There are acupuncture points that build the body’s resistance to disease and boost the immune system. Other points direct their action in relieving symptoms such as congestion, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and fever.

Some of the points that treat the common cold are contraindicated in pregnancy, so it is important for a woman to inform the acupuncturist if she is pregnant.
Absolutely, acupuncture will help the body to make the best use of your medications, allowing the body to heal faster.
Acupuncture boots the immune system to fight cold and flu. Acupuncture also can prevent a cold by boosting the immune system. Prevention is the principle of Chinese medicine (acupuncture) for any illness or disorder.
Absolutely. Acupuncture can help release the pathogen, boost the immune system and relieve the symptoms. It helps to get the patient over the hump of the illness and they feel much better the next day.
It's easy. A cold is an external virus that comes in when your immune system weakens, so you only need to increase your immunity. There are a variety of ways to boost your immune system with acupuncture.
Yes, it's true. We can move the pathogen out quicker with acupuncture and also boost your immune system so you do not get a relapse.
When someone catches a cold, it is usually too late. Medication and acupuncture will help to decrease the intensity of the symptoms associated with cold and possibly reduce the duration of the cold. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help strengthening the immunity and prevent catching a cold or recurring cold.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.

Acupuncture helps with the immune system to help the body fight off the virus, as well as helping to treat the symptoms. Find a local acupuncturist to get help naturally.


Scott Sang In Lee
When practiced by a professional who is trained in good needle technique, you don't even need the other medications. I have recently worked on at least three patients this week who came in with a cold and left without one. One even had a flu, and one had seen other acupuncturists but they didn't help.

Find someone who really knows good needle technique.

Good luck.

Acupuncture with infrared heat lamp along with cupping, or guasha can help with a cold. We also have body steams that help you sweat and detox, when used in conjunction with our treatments, patients get over a cold easier.

Thank you.
Yes, we can help the symptoms of a cold. I have found that acupuncture can help the cold pass faster if done alone or with medications.
Thank you for your question.

Most colds, the common cold, are viruses and resolve on their own in 7-10 days, tops, in otherwise healthy adults. I would say the added expense and effort - versus just resting, fluids, healthy diet, saline nasal spray spray I also recommend and remembering to wash hands - is not necessary or would be worth adding. If one has a prolonged simple bacterial infection confirmed by a physician, acupuncture may be additive to healing since these generally last longer, but there are no studies to support this currently. Pending is a study - “Acupuncture for common cold: A systematic review and meta-analysis” - to see if acupuncture shortens the length of a cold. But again, the question may still remain, is it worth the time and expense?
Yes, it has been shown to help boost your immune system, reduce phlegm, and calm coughing and will also help to drain the sinuses.
Thanks for checking.
Acupuncture by itself can help you get over a cold in a fraction of the time. Your practitioner will probably also have herbs that will help with symptoms and send your cold on its way lickity split.
Yes, it is true. Acupuncture can help patients with colds (sneezing, cough, sputum, fever....).
Actually, acupuncture works best as a stand alone treatment or along with herbs. Other medications such as over-the-counter drugs are not something we recommend at our wellness center.
Absolutely. Reducing fever, treating body aches and pains, pain from sore throat, runny nose, the list goes on and on. Boosting the body's immune system is an added bonus of the acupuncture, so that the body may fight off colds in the future.
Yes, there are several studies out recently showing acupuncture alone or acupuncture in combination with other medications can effectively relieve the symptoms of both cold and flu - particularly fever.

I've personally achieved excellent results for people who were just in the beginning stages of cold/flu - either heading things off entirely or reducing the total time of the disease. The trick is: you want to receive treatment as early as possible - either right at onset or just after.

For best results, make sure your provider is nationally board certified through the NCCAOM. I'd suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at to find someone local to you,