- Julie Johns, L.Ac.
No Cold November: Boost Your Immune System to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays
Here we are in November, in the midst of one of the most beautiful autumns ever in Colorado and with the warm weather, I am having difficulty wrapping my mind around the fact that Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah are just around the corner…And, so is cold and flu season.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the body’s first line of defense is the Wei Qi. The wei qi is the qi energy that circulates between the skin and the muscles. It is related to the lungs and the air we breathe, and regulates the opening and closing of pores, sweating, and immunity. TCM suggests the wei qi is derived from the combination of essential nutrients found in the food we eat and the air we breathe. This is similar to the modern concept of immune function, which maintains that the absorption of nutrients and oxygenation of blood and tissue is key to a healthy immune system.
So, how do we stay healthy and happy and protect ourselves from colds and flu this season?
Exercise outdoors regularly, no matter the weather; deep inhalation of fresh air is key to
Eat good quality foods in appropriate amounts. Enjoy holiday food at social gatherings, but be intentional. Decide ahead of time those foods and treats that you will enjoy in moderation and those you’ll simply say “NO!” to.
Try to get plenty of sleep and stay well rested
If you are ill, rest and sip on bone broth soup made with plenty of root vegetables, garlic, & ginger
Schedule regular monthly acupuncture treatments to support and strengthen immune function. Research shows that regular acupuncture has a modulatory effect on the immune system by increasing white blood cells and natural killer (NK) cells. The most favorable effects of acupuncture on the immune functions appear 72 hours after the single session and persist one month after the end of the complete treatment. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17265549)
It may be that your immune system is weak due to stress, chronic infections, or excessive use of antibiotics. Chemotherapy, surgery, and bereavement can also weaken the immune system. In such cases, you will need to increase the frequency and number of acupuncture treatments for a month or so in combination with the steps listed above so that your body is able to swiftly respond to foreign invaders and keep you from getting sick.