With fall allergies in full swing and cold and flu season quickly approaching, weary masses of seasonal sufferers are gearing up for battle with over the counter medications and stock piles of vitamin C. Unfortunately..
what many people do not realize, is that our bodies are equipped with an amazing army of antibodies, that when nourished and trained properly, can prevent and defend our bodies from ever coming under attack. When the immune system is in top form, it contains an elite command of soldier antibodies ready to defend and demolish the nasty cold and flu viruses that attack the body.
THE ARMY INSIDE US:
Like soldiers in the military, the body’s immune system is at it’s best when it is properly nourished and trained to fight off bacterias and viruses. Unlike, over the counter cold and flu medication that simply squelch the reacting antibodies and mask the symptoms that accompany the viruses, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with a combination of acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition build up the immune system into a strong, fighting group of antibodies.
I’M SICK AND I CAN’T GET OUT OF BED…
Many of us are walking around with a less than perfect immune system that is unable to defend our bodies from viruses and bacteria. We all know what it’s like, to wake up one morning with chills and fever, aching and coughing, pushing ourselves out the door to work, all the while, wishing we could crawl back into bed and stay there for the several days, if not weeks. So often, when we are hit with a cold or the flu, we head to the nearest store to purchase over the counter medications that barely affect our symptoms at all. Acupuncture, however, is a pro-active measure that can make colds and the flu a distant memory, not something you must suffer through each cold and flu season. In the article, ‘How Acupuncture Boost the Immune System to Prevent Colds, the author points out that, “diet helps as does exercise and rest, but if you’re looking for a method to fill in the weak gaps in your immune system and promote relaxation and pain relief, you’re looking for acupuncture.” (Root Whole Body, 2011)
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM?
The way that acupuncture works to strengthen the immune system is by moving sluggish or stagnant Qi (pronounced CHEE) in the body, there by, boosting the body’s energy and giving the body what it needs to strengthen itself. Proper movement and balance of Qi keeps the immune system strong so that it can fight off viruses. According to studies, acupuncture helps increase the body’s level of T-cells. These cells destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body. (RWB. 2011) Acupuncture is the drill sergeant that whips the immune system into shape and gets it battle ready.
IT’S ALREADY FALL. IS IT TO LATE TO START ACUPUNCTURE TO BUILD MY IMMUNE SYSTEM?
Prevention is the key to everything and Oriental Medicine is no different. Patients will benefit much more from being treated with acupuncture prior to the onset of flu symptoms. However, if symptoms do begin to arise, then immediate treatment is imperative. The key to effective treatment is early intervention. The sooner treatment is received for flu-like symptoms the faster and more effective the treatment is.
THE HERBS THAT HELP US FIGHT: (Always consult a Traditional Chinese Medicine nutritionist/practitioner/herbalist before using any medicinal herbs)
It has long been known in Traditional Chinese Medicine that there are many immune boosting herbs that help strengthen the body’s defenses. Here are just a few of the herbs found in TCM that support the immune system.
•GINSENG: helps prevent upper respiratory infections when taken for several months. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng is taken to strengthen the immunity, but is discontinued during an acute illness (such as a cold/flu).
•ANDROGRAPHIS: (sometimes called “Indian Echinacea”) it reduces the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
•ECHINACEA: for preventing and treating colds, flu, and other infections. Echinacea stimulates infection-fighting immune cells and increases the production of the interferon. Works best when taken frequently at the first signs of infection.
•ELEUTHERO: known as an adoptogenic herb (it helps the body more easily adapt to stressors), it improved immune function in clinical studies when taken for at least three months.
•ELDERBERRY (SAMBUCUS NIGRA): disarms viruses and prevents them from taking over healthy cells. Studies show that Elderberry offers significant protection against respiratory viral infections.
•GREEN TEA: Cultivating the habit of drinking green tea regularly can help strengthen immunity. Green tea neutralizes free radicals and prevents damage to the immune system.
•ASTRAGALUS: member of the pea family, it has been used for more than 2000 years in TCM as a popular tonic for strengthening vitality and to bolster resistance to disease. It improves the immune system by triggering the creation of immune cells in bone marrow and lymphatic tissue. It prods immune cells and macrophages into increased activity and enhances the production of immune compounds such as immunoglobulin. Astragalus is often made into a tea, or slices of the root are simmered in soup.
•GARLIC: a member of the Lily family, it is prized for it’s antimicrobial properties.
The cold and flu season doesn’t have to be a time of aches and pains, missed work, and expensive over the counter medications that barely relieve your symptoms. Your immune system can be in top notch condition, ready to defend and fight off those nasty viruses, if you take a pro-active approach and begin a treatment regime of acupuncture and herbal therapy, before the cold and flu season hits. Here at Lotus Acupuncture and Holistic Health Clinic, we want to see everyone have a great Holiday Season, happy and healthy, and free of the cold and flu viruses.