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How Chinese Medicine Supports A Healthy Immune System.



"Achoooo!"... "Bless you." How many times over the last 3 years have you sneezed or coughed in public only to reassure those around you that you dont have Covid? How many times has someone else around you sneezed or coughed only for you to be running a mile in the other direction? Covid has fundamentally changed the entire world in countless ways and brought with it an underlying awareness of our own health and wellness as well as those around us.


Wouldn't it be nice to walk around without a looming sense of fear of becoming sick? Not just for our own wellbeing but perhaps for a loved one with a weaker immune system. Luckily, there are easy ways you can boost and bolster your immune system today that can help prevent you from getting sick or at the very least, recover faster. Disclaimer, this article does not allege to "cure", "fix" or "vaccinate" in anyway. Just a few nuggets of information for you to do naturally that makes the body feel good!


 

Take A Walk In Nature

Walking helps to reduce stress

It is no secret that exercise boosts the immune system. But let's get real, we all have busy lives and finding the time of day to incorporate going to the gym can be challenging. I get it, the overpriced gym membership you pay for is loud and crowded with people that look way more fit then you feel. You might not even have a workout plan or how to truly exercise your body in a way that feels good. It can be discouraging.


A walk in nature or a park for 30 minutes a day is said to reduce stress and increase endorphins and seretonin (The Happy hormone). It truly is a meditation in motion.


How is this related to Chinese Medicine? From a Chinese Medical perspective, walking smoothes the Liver Qi in the whole body. What the heck does that mean? When the energy of the Liver is stagnant, we become stressed, the shoulders come up, our chest tightens and our minds are preoccupied about the past and future. TCM theory says that regular walks helps to move the Blood and thus the Qi throughout the entire body.


Being in nature also creates a physiological effect in the body that adds to the basic exercise of walking. Unplugging from the screens and office walls to get some vitamin D absolutly contribues to immune health. A healthy amount of Vitamin D is essential for bone health as well as helping the body to increase cells that fight off bacteria and virus.


Whether you walk the dog a little longer, or walk to the grocery store instead of driving, enjoy yourself! Get moving however you see fit! Walking in nature is a double whammy for boosting the immune system and lowering stress.




 

Eat The Right Foods


Eating the right foods for immunity

There are millions of articles and books on the right foods to eat and the ones to avoid. I won't beat a dead horse by saying "eat whole leafy greens and stay away from processed meats". We have been made well aware of this.


But I will add the timeless quote that is forever burned into the ears of those that know it.


"You are what you eat!"


If I eat a cheeseburger and fries, then guess what? I AM a cheeseburger and fries!

But seriously, eating foods devoid of essential nutrients deprives your body of what it needs in order to function at it's most optimal level.


From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the Spleen (Spleen/Stomach) is responsible for breaking down and assimilating the nutrients. A weak Spleen is caused by an inadequate diet and often paired with a stressful mind. In the body it looks like fatigue, foggyheadedness, heavy limbs, loose stools. Eating nutrient dense food can support the Spleen Qi and lead to not only a reduction of symptoms mentioned but overall a strong immunity because "we are what we eat".


Foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Zinc, pre/probiotics, and Iron are to name a few.

Making sure your diet is peppered with foods that have a balance of all these nutrients are essential.


  • Vitamin C: Acerola cherries, citrus fruits, kale, broccoli

  • Vitamin D: Fatty and oily fish, cod, mackrel

  • Vitamin E: Nuts & seeds, avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds pumpkin,

  • Zinc: Oysters, crab, lean meats like poultry, leguems

  • Probiotics: Kambucha, Keifer, Sunchokes, Kimchi, Miso, Tempeh


Make it fun! Be experimental with cooking. Its equally as important to enjoy the food as it is consuming it.


 


Getting Acupuncture & Taking Herbal Medicine


herbal chinese medicine for immunity


In conjucntion with eating right and walking in nature, comes embodying a healthy lifestyle. That involves a number of things like not smoking, reducing excessive alcohol, healthy sleep, and going to get regular acupuncture from your favorite Dr. in the area :)





According to the National for Biotechnology and Information, research has shown that Acupuncture has been helpful for strengthening the body's ability to fight off viruses, reduce inflammation and reduce stress.


As a Doctor of Acupuncture, I have seen many more benefits such as improvement in pain, long Covid symptoms, sleep issues, gut health and dermatological conditions.


Acupuncture treatments are great. Herbal medicine shines! Think of taking herbs like an extention of the acupuncture treatment all week long. Certain herbal medicinals can accelerate the healing process even more! Whether you are drinking the yummy delicious raw tea or herbal capsules, it is imparative to be taking Chinese Herbs especially to boost immunity.


Yu Ping Feng San or "Jade Windscreen" is a classic Chinese herbal formula consisting of 3 herbs: Astragalus, White Atractylodes and Siler root. From a Chinese medicine perspective, this formula is said to ward off pathogenic influences (AKA viruses). The texts also says the herbs work synergistically to protect the exterior (AKA the immune system). From a Western biomedical perspective, the herbs are taken to boost the gut function, support respiratory funtion and modulate immunity. For more information on this, check out this article from pubmed on the treatment of allergic rhinitis


That is one formula out of many formulas used to help strengthen the immune system. Adaptogenic herbs like Reishi and Ashwaganda are also very useful for strengthening immunity. Don't even get me started on Turmeric! (Perhaps an article for another time).


 

At the end of the day, we live in a world where we are exposed to hundreds of microbes and bacteria. There is no escaping, we are all bound to get sick, unless of course you confine yourself to a giant bubble and never leave the house.


With regular acupuncture treatments, herbal medicine, a healthy diet and daily movement exercises, you can do yourself the best favor and lower the chances of getting sick, but more importantly, feel great doing it!











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