Acupuncture for the Flu and Its Symptoms: A Guide

acupuncture for the flu
Photo by Brittany Collette/


Acupuncture for the flu may not be the most popular or common flu treatment out there, but it’s definitely worth a shot. Medications, chicken noodle soups, and bed rest are all great treatments for flu symptoms, but acupuncture for fever, body aches, and more can be just as effective as the usual remedies.



The flu: What you need to know

The flu is caused by a virus, and the type of flu differs based on the type of protein that the virus carries. You can catch the flu virus by touching your nose, mouth, or eyes, which is why keeping your hands clean and sanitized is vital to keeping yourself healthy.


Common wisdom says that if you do catch the flu, the illness will stay until it resolves on its own. The best you can do is to deal with the individual flu symptoms, such as fever and headache. However, acupuncture for the flu can not only help you with these symptoms, it can also help you shorten the span of the illness and even build up your immune system against it.



Flu symptoms

If you’ve ever had the flu before, you’ll probably be familiar with the symptoms. When the virus takes hold, it will result in common symptoms such as a dry cough, fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, and malaise. Other less common symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat, which are more common with the cold.



The difference between colds and the flu

The cold and flu actually have some pretty similar symptoms. However, the flu is generally worse than the common cold. For example, if you have a cold,you might have a mild fever. If you have the flu, however, your fever will be higher in temperature and may last up to four days.


Fatigue is also something that doesn’t usually happen with a cold, but it’s one of the hallmarks of the flu. Body aches are also mild when it comes to a cold, but if you have the flu, the aches can be quite severe.




Usually, you can expect the flu to go away on its own after a certain period of time. However, in rare cases, the flu can become fatal. In fact, the flu can lead to 10,000 to 50,000 deaths a year. Because of this, making the effort to keep the flu from spreading can be important.


Even when the flu doesn’t become fatal, it can still lead to worse medical conditions. It can lead to complications like bacterial pneumonia, and it can also worsen illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure.


If you believe you have the flu, please consult with your doctor before scheduling an acupuncture appointment. This is especially important if you have an otherwise compromised immune system due to age or pre-existing condition.


acupuncture for the flu
Acupuncture is safe to experience alongside taking flu medicine.


Acupuncture for the flu

You may not think of acupuncture as something that can be effective against the flu, but this millennia-old practice can surprise you. Acupuncture is a good way to not only ease the severity of flu symptoms, but it can also help you strengthen your immunity to the virus.



How acupuncture works

Basically, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture involve the flow of life force, called qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is supposed to to flow through points in the body called “meridians.” However, if the proper flow of qi is disrupted or is concentrated in a single area, illness can occur.


Acupuncture, in a nutshell, restores the flow of qi and thus restores good health. This way, acupuncture isn’t a forceful treatment; it simply nudges the body to the right direction. To redirect the flow of qi, a licensed acupuncturist will insert fine needles into the necessary acupuncture points.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you’ll be in the care of Tram Pham, our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist. She has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University, and has years of experience in providing acupuncture for the flu and other age-old remedies for various health conditions.



Western vs traditional Chinese medicine

Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) look at health in different ways. For example, Western medicine formulates treatments based on the particular ailment. TCM, meanwhile, formulates treatments based on the individual experiencing the symptoms.


In terms of the flu, Western medicine and TCM look at things differently as well. For Western medicine, illnesses such as the flu, polio, and the measles are caused by various corresponding viruses. However, for TCM, these illnesses are caused by a single reason: a factor called “Wind-Heat.”


Even with these differences, Western medicine recognizes the benefits and effectiveness of acupuncture, though there isn’t much research into the practice yet.



Fighting the flu with acupuncture

Even with the dearth of research, what we already do know about acupuncture is that it can increase the production of hormones that improve the immune system. If you feel that you’re about to get the flu or a cold, you can make an appointment at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic to prevent the illness from taking hold.


If you already have the flu, acupuncture can help you get over it sooner than can be expected. It can also help alleviate symptoms such as body aches, fever, sore throat, and a stuffy nose.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has been serving the city of Santa Barbara and nearby areas since it was founded by Dr. Jean Yu in 1986. Tram, our current owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, took over the clinic in 2016. She continued the tradition of providing holistic and all-natural health care to the residents of Santa Barbara.


Want to book an appointment? Call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at and see what it’s like to experience acupuncture for the flu. While coming to the clinic for a consultation is a common practice, we can also be quite flexible. If you’re not in the Santa Barbara or Goleta area, you can call us for a phone consultation, and Tram can also hold consultations via video call.