Health & Wellness Committee: Perspectives on Sickness and Injury From an Acupuncturist Momma

Rachel Kriger, for the Shuttle

Views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily the Health & Wellness Committee, and are not a substitute for talking to your doctor.

My kids were sick in bed for the whole week of Christmas, and during that time, I got to thinking about short-term illnesses like the common cold, flu, stomach bug, or bodily injury. Rather than get frustrated, it’s important to flip our attitude so that we embrace the sickness and thank our bodies for healing. 

Between feverish naps on the couch that week, my three-year-old repeatedly asked in a whiny voice: “Momma, how did I get sick?” And “Momma, how could I get better?”

How do we get sick? First, there is a weakness somewhere in our body, which usually comes from us not taking care of ourselves. I am talking about the basics: getting plenty of sleep, drinking water throughout the day, washing hands, eating good quality foods and doing things we love. I also must mention that getting regular acupuncture treatments helps keep us strong. 

Nevertheless, sickness is bound to happen. In the face of our weakness, a pathogen finds an opportunity to thrive, or we get injured. When symptoms appear, what would it be like to welcome them and know that our body is working? The body purges pathogens by producing phlegm or vomiting. Tiredness commands us to rest. Fevers kill off infections. Injuries slow us down so the body can heal properly. 

How do we get better? First and foremost, we must trust our body and thank it for what it is already doing. Rest up as soon as you start to feel sick, and even when you start to feel better. Stay hydrated. Surround yourself with love.

Over-the-counter medicines may help us feel relief from our symptoms, but they may also be suppressing the body’s ability to heal fully — kind of like sweeping the dirt under the rug. In my family, we use acupressure, herbal remedies, essential oils, and homeopathy to aid our healing — kind of like putting soap on the scrub brush. In my acupuncture office, we have the best success reducing the length and severity of an illness or injury when you receive acupuncture at least monthly and when symptoms first appear. 

I often tell my kids that they are healers when they watch a scab healing, or when they are in the middle of an illness. We are all healers. Let’s remember that during this cold and flu season. Let’s use our sick times to remind us to take care of ourselves every day, so that we are less likely to get weak and sick again. And let’s remember why we don’t like being sick. Besides the discomfort, there is something in our lives that urges us to be well and thrive. What is it for you?

Rachel Kriger is a Five Element-style acupuncturist who works with kids and their grownups. She is also a Life Cycle Ritual Consultant. This article is an expanded version of part of her e-book "5 Simple Tips to Keep Your Whole Family Well." Learn more at