With the cold and flu season upon us, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips and recommendations that may boost your immune system naturally.
1) Sleep as much as you can:
Getting enough sleep is one of the most helpful ways to boost your immune system. Try to turn off your tv or computer well before midnight, and the quality of your sleep will improve. Try to avoid caffeine after 3 pm, and create a sleeping ritual that will help you wind down. Besides having more energy, your immune system will thank you.
2) Get Acupuncture:
I would suggest having Acupuncture to help boost the immune system. In our busy lives stress, lack of proper nutrition and sleep can compromise our immune system. In Chinese theory, qi takes on many forms, however we would focus on strengthening the wei qi (this is the defensive qi circulating just below the surface that gets compromised when you are sick). We can do this most effectively through acupuncture, however for children or those with a fear of needles, we can use magnet therapy or vibrational sound therapy. If you are out of the Vancouver area, please see the CTCMA of BC association website to find a Registered Acupuncturist in your area. There has been many evidence-based studies showing how Acupuncture is effective in boosting your immune system. If you are interested in reading just a few of them, please:
Acupressure points to help boost the immune system:
-When you do acupressure, use deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate each point. When massaging acupressure points for neck pain, try to relax in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Even listen to calming music to get you in a zen space. CLICK HERE to go to a music video I created to help relax your body and mind (528 Hz for Miracles and Transformation | Beautiful British Columbia River Meditation). Repeat the massage as often as you like; there is no limit to the number of times a day. To further help relieve stress, try this acupressure mat I use nightly to unwind after a busy day… CLICK HERE
i) Stomach 36, leg three miles (zhu san li)
-a ‘do-it-all’ point to boost immunity, digestion, energy, lungs, balance emotions, and blood pressure. We don’t call it the point of 1000 diseases for nothing!
ii) Spleen 6, three yin intersection (san yin jiao)
-This is another wonderful point to boost the immune system, raise energy levels, balance digestion, mensturation, skin, circulation, sleep, and regulating the water metabolism
*do not use if pregnant
iii) Large Intestine 4, union valley (he gu)
-Commonly known as the command point for the face and great for headaches
-it is a strong point for boosting the immune system, removing pathogens, and strengthening the wei qi (defensive energy)
*do not use if pregnant
3) Dress warm:
To protect our wei qi, we want to make sure external environmental factors such as wind and cold do not enter our systems. If you have seen me in the fall or winter I am sure you have heard me say “make sure to cover the back of your neck when outdoors at all times”. This also goes for summer. Many times we are outdoors sweating and then come inside to a cool airconditioned room. This can also affect wind entering our system.
4) Use essential oils
(please click here for a study on the antiviral, antibacteria, and antifungal benefits of essential oils, however the detailed understanding on the antiviral action of essential oils still requires more research)
-Thieves oil: is a blend of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary that may boost the immune system and promote a healthy respiratory system. I use the medical grade version from Doterra called On Guard, which you can safely use internally as well as externally (i.e. spray, on bottoms of feet mixed with a carrier oil, on the acupressure points listed above). Click here to order On Guard essential oil.
-lavender and tea tree oil: these may be used for their sanitizing properties
This is a photo of a pharmacist boiling traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) at the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui University of Chinese Medicine in Hefei, east China’s Anhui Province, Feb. 24, 2020. The hospital took the responsibility for compounding, boiling and delivering traditional Chinese medicine to seven designated hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients in Hefei. It brings me back, as this is the Hospital I actually worked at in China back in 2005. According to local health authorities, 98.5 percent of infected patients in Shanxi have received TCM treatment, and 91.5 percent of those who have used TCM are getting results (click here for article, Xinhua/Zhou Mu).
I personally do not practice Chinese Herbology, however please check your area for Registered Practitioners or Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
7)Don’t stress out:
For stress of any significant duration – from a few days to a few months or years, as happens in real life – all aspects of immunity go downhill. Thus long-term or chronic stress, through too much wear and tear, can ravage the immune system.
Click here and here for research on how stress lowers the immune system. There are many studies worldwide on how Acupuncture reduces stress, and you can click here to read one of them.
8)Proper diet and exercise:
In Chinese Medicine, one of the scopes of practice is ‘food cures’. We know it is important to eat a balanced diet, especially during the cold and flu season, to keep your immune system strong. If you wanted to go a step further, please go to the ‘food cures’ section of my blog.
Getting enough fresh air is important to help keep the lung strong. I would recommend finding your favorite beach or forest, and have a healthy picnic while taking deep breaths. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are wonderful exercises to help balance the qi of your entire body, and they now offer them at most community centers.