TCM and your immune system
Your immune system is the most important part of your body when it comes to staying healthy and fighting off disease and illness. It works by detecting harmful pathogens and viruses and protecting your body against them. When your immune system is not running properly, the body becomes more susceptible to illness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has focused on immune health for centuries. TCM believes that disease and illness arise when there is an imbalance in the body. When yin and yang are balanced, the body can function normally. When these energies are not in equilibrium, the body’s natural energy flow, Qi, experiences disturbances resulting in illness.
To keep the body working properly, TCM believes that any excesses or deficiencies in yin and yang need to be corrected. This is done in a holistic manner. By addressing the body as a whole, techniques such as acupuncture are used to bring the body back to its normal balance, which results in a healthy immune system.
In TCM, different organs have different roles in immune health.
- The lungs are the first barrier to outside pathogens. The lungs disperse Qi to the body’s surface to protect it.
- The spleen is seen as the blood and Qi source of the body. It works to move fluids and regulate blood flow.
- The kidneys are believed to be the root of healthy energy, keeping the body in equilibrium and strengthening the immune system.
- The liver promotes functioning of the endocrine, digestive, circulatory and immune system. The liver is responsible for the movement of Qi.
- Lastly, the heart is one of the most important organs and works to regulate blood flow. The heart ultimately balances our body’s nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems, which is vital for immune health.
Acupuncture can help boost the immune system through specific acupuncture points on the body based on the meridian system. The meridian system is the path through which Qi flows. When the body is not in its best health, there may be a stagnation in Qi. Acupuncture works by releasing these blockages to return the body back to balance and its best immune health.
7 Ways to Supercharge Your Immune System
The immune system can get bogged down for a number of reasons, whether it is from being overworked, or chronic allergies, we all are looking for ways to improve our overall health and wellbeing. Below are tips to improve and strengthen immune function to keep the body in its best shape and fight off illness.
Lemon and Peppermint oil
Both of these oils have detoxifying and healing properties for the body. Part of a strong immune system is cleansing and ridding the body of toxins. By adding a few drops of lemon oil to your water every day, the oil will help clean the blood and toxic buildup in your body. Peppermint oil is known for its healing properties for headaches, indigestion and a large variety of stomach ailments. Add peppermint oil or peppermint tea to your daily routine to aid digestion and help reduce cravings of sugary foods.
Good bacteria, such as probiotics, are necessary for a healthy digestive system and as a result, overall immune function. When you take antibiotics to kill bad bacteria in your body, you are also killing the good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium along with it. When this happens, the body can become out of balance and result in chronic stomach pain. Taking a probiotic supplement or drinking liquids with probiotics in it such as kefir and kombucha can help keep your digestive function inline and improve your body’s food absorption.
Emotional stress can cause a number of physical problems like insomnia, stomach pain and headaches. Because of this, the body can become very sick from chronic stress. Ways to reduce stress include exercise, meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase the white blood cell count in the body and stimulate the immune system. By placing acupuncture needles in specific points of the body, acupuncture works by bringing the body back to balance and increasing blood and energy flow.
Echinacea is an effective natural herb for preventing illness. The herb has been shown to increase the body’s white blood cell count, boosting the immune system. You can find this flowering plant at most stores in liquid or pill form.
Exercise is good for the body and mind in just about every way, one of them being immune health. Moderate exercise promotes circulation and blood flow, which keeps the body’s cells moving and working. Try adding just 20 minutes of exercise to your daily routine, whether it is walking, yoga or jogging.