Most of us do not think about our immune system until we get sick even though a weak immune system is a major component of most chronic diseases. A weak immune system can result in disorders such as frequent/lingering colds, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and many more. How we feel every day is essentially an indicator of how our immune system is working. Acupuncture is a safe and natural way to stimulate, strengthen, and balance the immune system. Studies have shown that regular acupuncture treatments can increase the number of T cells the body produces. This is important because T cells destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body. The increased cellular response provided through acupuncture lasts for several days after the treatment. Over time this strengthens the immune system similarly to how lifting weights regularly will strengthen muscles.
While being proactive and strengthening your immune system to prevent your body from getting sick is important, it is also important to seek natural and safe ways to treat illness as well. Most over the counter and prescription medications we are given are used to suppress the immune system. While this method is useful for limiting symptoms and managing pain, it is one of the reasons people become dependent on the medication. Acupuncture is an effective alternative to those medications. Acupuncture regulates the immune function as well as treats the underlying causes of the disease. Acupuncture helps with reducing symptoms, speeding up healing, decreasing excess phlegm, and decreasing inflammation which results in a decrease in the amount of time you spend sick. It is important that we work on building our immune system up so our bodies are capable of fighting off anything nature throws at us
How does Acupuncture Help?
The equivalent of our immune systems in Chinese Medicine is called Wei Qi or Defensive Qi. It runs between the skin and muscle; is made from food and water; and is the first line of defense to protect the body from external pathogens. A strong wei qi acts as a barrier that protects and defends the body against any foreign substance which lead to illness and diseases. However, when weak, it decreases the body’s ability to protect from external pathogens and one’s health is compromised. Regular acupuncture treatments strengthen, support and rebalance the immune system providing the body with proper tools to fend off any colds or flu’s. As well, acupuncture stimulates wei qi, so when you feel a cold coming on, acupuncture can shorten the length of the cold or prevent it completely from taking you out for the count.
Other Ideas to Keep the Immune System Healthy
In addition to acupuncture, food and lifestyle can affect the functions of the immune system. To stay healthy throughout the winter, get enough sleep, plan time to relax and unwind from daily stressors, and exercise regularly. Vitamin C and zinc are two important elements to support the immune system. Make sure to incorporate these foods for red peppers, red cabbage, strawberries, tangerines, oranges and kiwi Vitamin C; and for zinc include chicken, barley, lamb, turkey and beef. As well, add garlic to meals for its antibacterial and antiviral abilities. Make sure to limit sugar because it suppresses the immune system cells responsible for fighting of pathogens. If you do feel the beginnings of a cold coming on have miso soup or broth with green onion and fresh ginger. This combination helps the body’s pores to open and sweat out the cold. After eating the soup, get under the covers and get to bed early.