10 tips for fine tuning your immune system
Last updated 4/2/2020 at 3:57pm
Special to Village News
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. These tips are based on what I have learned through dealing with my own health issues over the years, and what I have observed that works for my clients, friends and family.
What people ingest can enhance or weaken their immune system. When they reduce inflammation, they improve their immune system. In order to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet, people must cut out sugar, gluten, dairy and meat. Also focus on eating alkaline foods as opposed to acidic foods.
Additionally, there are a variety of nutritional aids and herbs to assist the immune system that may help during times of physical and emotional stress. A few of my favorites include:
· Elderberry syrup
· Vitamin C
· Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2
· CBD products
· Vitamin B complex
· Flower remedies
· Extract of licorice root
· Tumeric Milk
· Olive leaf
· Oregano oil
· Echinacea pupurea
· Green tea
To learn more about how each of these can support a healthy immune system, consult with a local health practitioner. Many of these are available at Wellsprings Herbs in Fallbrook, Major Market in Fallbrook, at Sprouts, Jimbo's and other stores online or at a physical location.
Aromatherapy uses various essential oils to ease physiological and psychological distress. Each oil is known for its ability to address certain conditions, such as lavender for sleep, citrus for energy, thieves for immunity. The oils can be safely applied to soles of feet or elsewhere on the body if diluted with vegetable oil.
There are a number of companies that sell essential oils. I have used Young Living for years now and rely on a variety of their products for boosting my immunity, including but not limited to Thieves Blend, Immunopower, Breathe Again and Eucalyptus.
When I don't feel well, I am often surprised to notice that my breathing has become shallow. BKS Iyengar said, "The ribs are the wings of the body. Open your wings!"
When people are stressed or fearful, they tend to compress and contract. People contract as they age in response to the challenges of life. Use breath and movement to reduce anxiety, stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Give and receive healing touch with animals in your life. Statistics are in, and they confirm what I have been saying and have experienced over the last 40 plus years. Living with animals improves your health. Animals give the gift of unconditional love. Whether people are soothing them or they are soothing their human friends, healing is present. Also, many animals seem to intuitively know where you are experiencing pain or tension, even before you do and want to help ease it.
Move your body in whatever way you are able to that brings you joy. Whether it is yoga in a chair or on a mat, tai chi, chi kung, eurythmy, walking or dancing, all forms of movement are healing. Every time I lie on the floor, roll on tennis balls, relax onto bolsters, lie in constructive rest pose with knees bent and hip width apart, I feel better. Exercise also increases energy levels, allowing you to feel more confident to manage challenges and stressful times.
I recently joined a Zoom Chi Kung class with Jane Blount. We could either sit throughout the class or stand. She focused on a steady but gentle flow, coordinated with breathing. When it was over, COVID-19 fears had temporarily, at least, retreated into the background.
When you are able to receive nurturing physical touch, soak it up. Trauma Therapist Peter Levine believed that trauma is not in the event but in our nervous system. It is how we respond that determines our stress level. When I get a massage, I can switch from "stressed out about the world" to "things will be OK" in a matter of minutes. When this happens, my parasympathetic nervous system is kicking in. Most forms of bodywork, including acupuncture, can help us shift from fight or flight to relaxed mode.
Or practice self-massage, tapping all over the body to soothe and energize it. Lie on tennis balls to activate acupuncture points. Practice the kidney rub, circling your fists at your lower back, for overtaxed adrenals. Roll your feet or hands on golf balls to get your "chi" or energy moving. Learn the acupoints in your hands, feet and ears that correspond to all the organs and systems in your body.
Play and relax
Sometimes the world seems to be moving faster than people are, and they can so easily get caught up in the race, feeling the need to work harder and longer hours. However, people have to remember that they work in order to live. They don't live to work.
Think about what you look forward to most during a busy workweek to decompress and create more of whatever that is during your time off.
Spend time in nature
If possible, connect with earth's energy. I believe that there are nature devas or spirits in our gardens and fields and forests. Let them soothe and inspire you. Ocean, rivers, waterfalls, all have negative ions which improve our sense of well-being. Whether you are an earth, air, fire or water person, spend time enjoying that element.
Before there were antibiotics, sun and fresh air were believed to have prevented deaths among patients and infections among medical staff. Fresh air was considered a natural disinfectant. In World War I military surgeons routinely used sunlight to heal infected wounds.
Indigenous people have used sweat lodges and hot mineral springs for healing.
Practice walking meditation. When you soak in the fresh air and sunlight, give thanks to the earth with every step you take. Practice mindfulness.
During this pandemic, many things feel out of personal control. When you create something, it is entirely within your control. Additionally, by tapping into your creative side through drawing, creating mandalas, taking photos, playing music, gardening, making jewelry or more, you are engaging the right side of your brain. Many people are stuck in their left brains as they listen to the news or worry about the future. So, find an outlet that gives you a brain break and allows you to create something magnificent.
Reach out and share what you know with others. Think about other people, especially those who do not have friends or family nearby. During this time of COVID-19, make video chat coffee dates, call your family and friends, maybe even write a letter or two. Physical isolation doesn't have to be social isolation, and in fact many people have more time for social connecting and reconnecting. We can be physically distant but spiritually connected.