How to Safeguard Your Immune System

 

By, Kaysi Contreras, CEOT-450

 

It is that time of the year where we are well into the school year, when the days shorten, preparing us for winter, the first colds start being passed around, and some of us make their annual appointments to receive a flu vaccine.

 

Communities were hit hard last year with various viruses and bugs going about, and the CDC reports a shocking 80,000 people died of the flu in the U.S.  No one has time for being sick, especially busy parents and kids with full schedules. The solution? Your immune system! A vulnerable immune system will put you at higher risk for catching something, and getting sick, while a highly functioning immune system can safeguard you from a wider array of pathogens.

 

And, our immune system is beautifully dynamic!  It is chemically interdependent on our endocrine and nervous systems, directly connected to our digestive health, and responsible for protecting the body from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other harmful organisms.   The stronger your immune system, the more highly elevated your foundational health, which means you will be less susceptible to getting sick in the first place. Amazingly, 80% of our gut health is connected to our immune system, hence diet becomes priority.  Hippocrates was spot on when he guided, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

 

Think of your GI tract, and its activity, as your personal internal compost pile. In order to optimally function, it needs the diversity of a nutrient rich diet as well as a diverse microbiome profile.  When all is in balance, the body is nourished and absorbs all that is good, and what is not useful is eliminated easily and completely so that we have ample energy! Having more energy not only translates in terms of fuel to burn, it also translates to more nuanced experiences of being, from finding humor more readily, to seeing the glass half full, and feeling more compassion toward self and others.

 

Ready to make some simple changes? Here are 9  lifestyle choices you can make now to strengthen your immune system:

 

1. Get plenty of Rest and Sleep. Perhaps add an hour here and there when you can to your nightly usual, or try a weekend nap!  Sleep is underrated when it comes to preventative health care, for this is when your parasympathetic nervous system is in action and sets about a routine for detoxifying the body of harmful ‘invaders’.  It’s like having to clean the same size house every night, but sometimes you get 8 hours to do it, and sometimes you may only get 4 or 5, and corners are missed. Worse yet is when you lose sleep despite all best intentions due to worry, anxiety or insomnia, and whole rooms get missed.  Friendly reminder that the blue light emanating from digital screens suppresses melatonin, a necessary hormone needed to help you sleep.

 

2. Hydrate.  Drinking water will support all major systems to function more efficiently.

 

3. Wash hands.  Do so more than usual,  it is simple and more effective than we give credit.

 

4. Avoid white flour products.  These create inflammation in the body.  Inflammation increases your risk to illness, and allows for unhealthy cells to replicate.

 

5. Avoid sugar and alcohol.  These only tax and toxify the body’s systems.

 

6. Up your antioxidant intake.  It’s in our best interest to prevent molecular oxidation which we don’t want because that produces free radicals.  Free radicals damage healthy cells.

 

7. Love your Lymphatic!  Treat yourself to a lymphatic drainage massage, or dry brush from the ankles up the body, and from the wrists up the arms, toward the heart.

 

8. Move your body.  ‘Move it or lose it’ refers to losing your health.  Exercise can be many different things. When you find your thing, make it happen regularly.  Consistency over time is better than a few weeks here and there. Baby steps matter significantly when they are linked together by consistent effort.

 

9. Process your Emotions. Allow yourself the support in so doing; this may sound silly, but unexpressed and unresolved negative emotions do directly impact the health of our immune systems.  Similarly, hugging/embracing someone you truly love and care for will strengthen your immune system.

 

Likewise, these two healing modalities can turbo boost your immune system and keep you (and your loved ones) out of the doctor’s office:

 

1. Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a practice within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which has over 3,000 years of history, and is a powerful and effective tool in supporting the immune system (and all its T-cells and B-cells to do their surveying, conquer and kill jobs). Key points along the Lung, Kidney and Spleen meridians activate the immune system. In TCM, the Spleen meridian represents the digestive system, an acknowledgment that this ancient medicine understood the powerful impact of the GI tract on immunity a long time ago. Acupuncture removes potential and active meridian dams and blockages allowing for a more finely tuned immune system, and increased energy levels.  Needling itself provides the opportunity to slow down, breathe, rest and receive.

 

2. Essential Oil Therapy. Volatile complex molecular compounds steam-distilled from plants are known as essential oils, and have been used since ancient Egypt as medicine in massage and reflexology. Modern aromatherapy is an active modality alongside allopathic treatment used by MD’s and in hospitals.  Using any chemically sound essential oil topically will increase your white blood cell count, which are the army cells that fight the battles our immune systems face. Essential oil therapy enacts results on the cellular level of the body, has direct and indelible results on the emotional body, and engages your strongest sense, that of smell.  Smell good and feel better; it’s a win-win!

 

As we move into the fall and winter seasons, be kind to yourself and make space for the self care needed to stay healthy, to enjoy the shift in seasons, and to feel strong in your body and mind.  It can be easier said than done at times, but we meet ourselves where we are at, simply start where we are, and take it one step at a time. Our immune systems will absolutely strengthen, and our future selves will thank us for the much-deserved TLC!

 

Ready to get a jump start?

 

Luma is excited to offer a unique immune-boost treatment combining acupuncture, essential oils and a yummy herbal elixir. This preventative medicine is offered as a private 30-minute session available now through March

 

We are also proud to announce our first Immune-Boost Drop In Clinic where you can come by for a group session.  This is an affordable way to receive a treatment when the calendar is full, and days are busy.  Call or stop by for more information, and to add your name to the sign-in sheet.  Clinic drop-ins are safe and effective for kids, as well as expecting parents!

 

October Clinic Dates are:

  • Tuesday, October 23rd 11:30 am – 2:00 pm and 4:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Friday, October 26th: 8:30 – 11:30 am
  • Saturday, October 27th: 9:30 – 11:30 am