What’s your advice about the coronavirus? That’s the question of the month for many practitioners, it seems.
No matter what the external pathogen, the body reacts to preserve Qi and life by activating Wei-defensive Qi (the immune system). Wei Qi also governs the musculature and therefore allows us to move. Since viruses have Wind as their escort and are Cold in nature, we know to run inside when it hails, or from gale force wind, or from cold itself. We raise our shoulders to protect ourselves when encountering wind or even a draft. Our bodies recoil from danger, and it is Wei Qi, in all its complexity, that energizes that movement.
The coronavirus will elicit this reaction, too, of course. Upon contact, the body will tighten up along the Tai Yang sinew (the upper back and neck) then the body will generate sneezes—the most violent and the fastest action of the body—to evacuate the pathogen. The power to do this comes from Yang Qi. In Wuhan they are observing that children are far less likely to succumb to the virus. This is because children are naturally abundant in Yang Qi, (though comparatively Yin deficient). The children are pushing it off before they have to reach for deeper resources.
If the sheer power of the sneeze can’t rid the pathogen, the nose will run as mucus is generated as a medium to move the pathogen out. At the same time, a sweat will assist the expulsion. And if that fails, a fever will be generated to burn up the pathogen. If the body cannot generate a fever that’s high enough, or if the body cannot generate a fever in the first place, the divergent channels will take over and try to translocate the pathogen to the joints where it can sit relatively quietly while the body acquires the Qi to push it all the way out at a later date.
“But this virus is much more virulent than most viruses we encounter.” Yes, as we all know, not all pathogens are created equal. The 2019-2020 coronavirus is a potent one. If the strength of a pathogen exceeds the strength of Zheng Qi—Wei Qi at the exterior that fights off the pathogen, the pathogen can penetrate the exterior and enter the interior. If Wei Qi is very weak and the pathogen is particularly strong, a person can go from being “perfectly fine” to death in days, as we’re hearing in the (tragic) news at the moment.
What’s important to note is that every person who has died did not have adequate Wei Qi for the fight against the 2019-20 coronavirus. We are therefore impelled to increase our Wei Qi (immune strength). The foundations of Wei Qi are two: Kidney Yang and Stomach Fluids. Kidney Yang is the moving and warming energy of the body and translates loosely in common parlance as adrenaline, although it encompasses so much more. Stomach Fluids are exactly that – the moistness of the Stomach and gut.
Viruses are characterized by an invasion of Cold. That’s why we feel miserable and want to stay warm and wrapped up when we have “colds” (common viruses). Warming, moving Qi (Kidney Yang) breaks up that Cold and moves it out. At the same time, the body moves some of the fluids originating in the Stomach (from food and drink) and uses them to create a sweat which “opens the exterior”—like opening a door in the skin—and pushes the pathogen out. This is what happens when we sweat.
Kidney Yang and Stomach Fluids are two commodities in decline in our current culture because we engage in lifestyles that not only fail to cultivate them, they actively erode them. Kidney Yang is eroded by excess activity and excess stimulation. Stomach Fluids are eroded by dehydration and consumed by overdrawing from the body’s deep resources. Adequate rest is the important for the restoration of these reserves, but our culture is chronically sleep-deprived.
What to Do:
Do’s and Don’ts for preserving and generating Kidney Yang (which determines your ability to push a virus out of your body):
• Cultivate Kidney Yang:
• Going to bed before 10pm allows the Channels to relax enough to move Wei Qi in the first place.
• Sleep as deeply as you can to cultivate and restore Kidney Yang.
• Avoid having electronic equipment including phones in the bedroom so that sleep is deep enough to be restorative.
• Install blackout blinds.
• Eat sufficient food and don’t miss meals so that your body is not forced to draw upon Kidney Yang instead of the readily available energy from food eaten on the day.
• Avoid cold foods, raw foods, sticky foods, gluten, sugar, milk and cheese, all of which deplete Kidney Yang by requiring more warming qi to move and activate the gut.
• Cultivate calm by meditating daily so that Kidney Yang is not active when it doesn’t need to be.
• Spend time in nature and have plenty time away from electronic screens which activate Wei Qi.
• Avoid artificially stimulating or summoning Kidney Yang with coffee, chocolate, hot spices, garlic, onion, sugar and alcohol. All these deplete Kidney Yang by activating it when it’s not needed. This in turn prevents the storage of Kidney Yang for when it is really needed, like savings in a bank account.
• Cultivate Stomach Fluids:
• This level of deep hydration comes from wet-cooked foods, not water and not juices.
• Eat wet breakfasts, like congee and porridges
• Eat soups, stews, casseroles, broths.
• Include saturated fat in the diet (eggs, butter, fish, animal fat).
• Sleep early.
• Avoid the dehydrators: coffee, chocolate, hot spices, garlic, onion, sugar and alcohol and all carbonated (fizzy) fluids.
• Avoid foods that inherently cause inflammation (GMO’s, pesticides and known allergens).
• Rest when digesting.
To put oneself in a better position to ward off a virus, cultivate Kidney Yang and Stomach Fluids. Viruses are here to help us change; that’s why they are constantly mutating. There will never be a cure for the common cold because we are invited to make minor changes for our personal and physical evolution periodically. When the virus is a potent one, the change it invites is correspondingly major. The irony here is that to avoid a major virus such as the 2020 coronavirus, the health changes we need to make just happen to equip us with the resources we need to make changes voluntarily. If we feel replete in bodily resources, we can bring ourselves to make changes, to steer a different way, to see things differently, to relate to people and the world differently. This means that preparation for a major illness in itself enables us to make the next set of changes in our Destiny, and with that done, we have grown to a place where we neither need the virus, nor need to fear the virus.
To your health.
Practice like nothing else matters because everything does.