Would you rather listen?
The immune system is what’s kept our species on top for a long time. Did you know that fear suppresses the immune system? The hardiest ancestors that could problem solve, manage fear and relieve stress were the ones who survived and thrived. Close your eyes for one breath and see if you can feel their blood flowing through you, many many generations later, filled with life, health and vitality… Good. That brings us right to number one.
Do the practice I just mentioned for ten breaths now. Conscious slow breathing resets the body to operate the parasympathetic nervous system (the calm part of you). This reduces the stress hormones that trigger the sympathetic nervous system (the part of you that wants to run & fight). ‘Forward Head Posture’ is stressful to the spine and causes even more stress to the nervous system that’s housed safely inside it. So put down your smart phone. Feel the diaphragm fill with air as you lay, sit or stand… nice and straight. Keep going for more than 10 breaths while you practice great posture.
Moderate and frequent is best, for a good dose of endorphin release. Endorphins reduce pain and stress, and release dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which makes you feel happy and relaxed. Over-strenuous activity may actually weaken your system, so take it easy if your goal is immune boosting. I teach a bunch of different low-impact fitness classes as a part of my own well-being and self care. I’m guaranteed to get a great workout, by having a group of people counting on me to show up and bring it (online or in the studio). Yoga, walking and sacred dance are my favorites, and every day I make time for at least one of those. You can too. Do what you like. Play outside. Stretch gently. Garden. Go for a walk. Decide now to make time for more enjoyable physical activity.
US National Library of Medicine says, “Physical activity helps flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)”
There are many reasons to exercise regularly. Above all, it keeps you healthy.
Getting a great night’s rest signals the body to produce a protein that helps reduce inflammation and infection, and produce the T cells that strengthen the immune system. Sleeping allows for concentrated time for the body to repair and heal itself. If you are consistently getting crappy sleep, you can supplement with 20-30 minute naps to get recharged again.
4. Nourishing infusions
An infusion is like a strong tea, infused with a large amount of a tonic herb for a long amount of time. Susun weed explains how to make them here. Mild and flowery tasting Linden flowers (Tillia americana): anti-flu, anti-cold, lovingly soothes lungs. Oatstraw (Avena Sativa) is a full body tonic which strengthens your immunity and builds energy and is high in vitamins A, D and E, zinc and is mild tasting, like oatmeal. Red Clover ( Trifolium pratense ) has anti-viral properties as well as an affinity for the lungs, making it a perfect remedy for viral respiratory infections. *Bonus tip- Drink lots more healthy fluids. More info about better foods for better moods here.
5. Vitamins ABCDE and Zinc–
Vitamins that protect your cells from the effects of free radicals, can help reduce an overabundance of inflammation in your body, and protect against colds and infection. Food & herbal sources are more easily absorbed than pills. Great herbal sources are; burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, fennel seed, hops, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, red clover, and dandelion. Great food sources are; Fruits, berries, yogurt, greens, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, onions, seaweed, cruceferous veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, brown rice and garlic. Bonus tip* Get some sun for some more therapeutic vitamin D.
These are special herbs that help the immune system. Aloe vera (herb?vegetable?) activates microphages that turn on the immune system. Astralagus root tincture is great for the immune system (without a fever), produces T cells and is an antioxident. Echinacea tincture is an immune booster and enhances lymphatic function. St. John’s wort tincture is anti-viral and a mood booster.
produces endorphins and oxytocin helping calm your body and your brain causing relaxation, stress relief, alleviates pain and boosts your immune system with the the chemical DHEA, which helps repair tissue as well. Oh it it feels really good and makes you happy. Get someone you love to give you one..or ten…or gift yourself some DIY self-pleasure time.
8. Essential oils and fresh aromatic plants-
These support and strengthen the immune system in two ways, by opposing threatening microorganisms or by stimulating and increasing activity of the organs and cells involved. A few essentials oils do both: lavender (also regulates and elevates moods), bergamot, eucalyptus, Ti-tree and rosemary. In addition, all these are great against bacteria and virus while increasing immune response.
9. Energy Medicine-
Your physical body is alive and filled with ‘life force energy’ (also known as chi, prana, mana, ki) which flows through it. Although there are many kinds of healing modalities to try, reiki especially enhances life force energy and reduces stress, enhances relaxation and immune function, increases physical energy and facilitates healing and the body’s ability to heal itself. I love that it’s easy to learn and you can do self-reiki, or find a qualified practitioner to give you a session in person, long distance, or virtually.
Pro-biotic means ‘pro-life’. These promote natural antibodies to fight off infections of all kinds, help digestion and your body will absorb the nutrients from food better too. A healthy gut will crowd out nasty microbes we ingest that can cause disease, and reduces the risk of serious infections. Fermented foods like kimchi, miso, kraut, and others are awesome, tasty and nutritious. Yogurt and other cultured foods are good too. Similarly, you can get probiotics in pill form, but make sure you’ve got a high-grade reputable source that is what it claims to be. I like Ther-Biotic from Wellevate.
New studies are discovering that the microbiome-gut-brain axis is a complex and primal one. It involves connections between nerves, biochemicals, and the immune system itself. We often talk about a “gut feeling” to “trust our gut”..see if any of these solutions feel right for your health and do the self-loving thing and give the body what it wants to be sparkling & healthy.