Ways to boost your immune system
Acupuncture is a wonderful way to boost your immune system! Acupuncture works to strengthen all the systems of the body and reminds them how to work efficiently. Often, things in life like stress, lifestyle choices, or health complications cause the body to stop working the way it should. One area of your body ends up needing more attention and that leaves another area of your body lacking the resources it needs. Acupuncture helps to balance those unevenly distributed resources so that all aspects of your health and wellbeing are being taken care of. With regular acupuncture, your immune system will be stronger and work more efficiently.
Unfortunately we are living in a surreal world with COVID-19 and people are unable to get in for their regular acupuncture treatments. Don't fret! There are still many things you can do on your own to support your immune system. Remember, acupuncture and Chinese medicine is more than just the treatment itself - it's about lifestyle too. As your acupuncturist, I'm working WITH you to make changes to your body so that you can become healthier. The changes you make between treatments are just as important as the treatments themselves. You are the one in control of implementing diet and lifestyle advice. I'm here to support you through those changes. That being said, I understand that everyone's world has been turned upside down. This is not the time to beat yourself up about your emotions, your productivity or your ability to become a better person during quarantine. This is not the time to take on more than what feels comfortable to you. Do your best and accept where you're at each day. Some days will be good and some will be disappointingly off. That's fine! Don't hold on to hard feelings towards yourself or others. Look for the positives when you can and focus on that.
Self Care is a priority and necessity, not a luxury.
Eat Nutritious Foods A good diet and nutrition is more important than ever to help support your immune system. During times of stress it's easy to skip meals or end up snacking our way through the day. Take the time to make yourself nutritious meals. Have fun with it and find delicious new recipes! I always feel better after I've eaten a meal that truly nourishes me. Make sure to add some immune-boosting foods while you're at it.
- Citrus is full of vitamin C which helps boost the immune system.
- Garlic has long been used for fighting infection
- Ginger boosts the immune system and decreases inflammation
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial
- Broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals!
- Red pepper has more vitamin C than citrus! Bon Appétit
It is so beneficial to get good quality sleep so that your immune system is strong. At night, your body produces cytokines while you sleep. Cytokines are proteins that create an immune response by attacking inflammation and infection. Your body needs cytokines when you have an infection or inflammation but if you're not getting enough sleep, your body will not be able to produce these much-needed proteins. It is important to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are getting adequate sleep, you will be less likely to become sick if you've been exposed to someone with a cold or flu.
Stress reduction Meditation or breathing exercises are a great way to decrease stress. Download one of the many apps out there that offer guided meditation or connect with a local yoga teacher who is sharing online yoga classes. Take a few minutes each day to sit down, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. Keeping a positive mindset helps with reducing stress. One way to improve your mindset during difficult times is to pay attention to what you are grateful for. Start a gratuity journal and write down 3-5 things that you are thankful for. You can do this daily or weekly depending on what feels right for you. Sometimes it will be easier than others to come up with the things you are grateful for. But that means you will probably start noticing the small things in life to appreciate. You might notice that beautiful flower blooming or the green grass on your walk, appreciate your friends or family more than you realized, or even be psyched that you heard your favorite song on the radio. Becoming aware of the good things helps shift your mindset so that you're more focused on the positive. What are you grateful for?
Be gentle with yourself. You're doing the best you can.
Herbs and Supplements Chinese Herbs are beneficial for so many things including cold symptoms, digestive support, stress, anxiety, sleep, and so much more. This is an important time to be taking probiotics, vitamins, and other supplements for your well being. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are great immune-boosting vitamins. If you don't have herbs at home and feel financially uncertain about buying herbs right now, don't forget to eat your herbs. Add extra garlic when cooking, drink ginger tea, have an orange every day!
Dry Brushing Take this time to add self-care routines into your day. Dry brushing is a quick and easy thing to do with so many benefits. One very important benefit is that it stimulates the lymph system which is a major part of your immune system. The Lymph system helps fight infection and clean up bacteria and cellular debris. Lymphatic fluid is circulated throughout the body to pick up debris along the way and then filtered in the Lymph nodes. The only way lymphatic fluid is moved throughout the body is by muscle contractions. Dry brushing helps stimulate the circulation of lymphatic fluid so it can work more efficiently. The lymph system is easily stimulated so a very gentle touch is all that is needed. With a dry brush and dry skin, start at your hands and feet and gently brush towards your heart. Then shower as usual afterward. Other benefits of dry brushing include exfoliation for softer skin, boost circulation, and many notice a reduction in cellulite. Not to mention it feels nice, it's invigorating, and offers some stress reduction! And of course, keep thoroughly washing your hands and stop touching your face!
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Do you have other health concerns and wonder if acupuncture could be right for you?