I’m always being asked at my clinic if Acupuncture can boost the Immune System. The answer is yes, and it is amazing at doing this!
If you tend to get sick during the winter months, making you feel lousy and causing you to miss work or school, then listen up. Having acupuncture treatments and taking Chinese herbs before the cold weather hits can change this. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory claims that colds and flu happen when our protective surface energy is weak, allowing pathogens (bacteria and viruses) to enter our body.
A healthy balanced body has a strong and effective immune system. If you’ve had long term stress, recurring infections, excessive use of medications like antibiotics or chemotherapy, surgical operations or traumatic life events, your immune system may already be very low. All the things that leave us feeling run down, tired lethargic or depressed will lower immunity and compromise how our bodies respond to pathogens. The time to boost your immune system is now, before the cold winter months arrive.
Certain acupuncture points (see Stomach 36 video) and herbal medicines strengthen the our immune system so it is well equipped to fight off pathogens – this is true preventive medicine. Just as you winterize your car so it performs well when the temperature drops, you also need to winterize your own immune system. Regular acupuncture treatments, particularly during the late summer and fall, will boost your immune system so you can enjoy time with friends and family rather than clutching tissues and popping cough drops. Scientific research has determined that acupuncture plays a role in boosting the body’s immune system by enhancing the production of natural killer cells, the primary defense mechanism against organisms that make us sick. Acupuncture also regulates white blood cells that are directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders.
Chinese herbal medicines help resolve the illness quickly without the progression into a deeper disease, such as sinus infections, bronchitis or pneumonia. Many Chinese herbs have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and have been shown to reduce the frequency of colds and bacterial infection in the respiratory tract, and regulate the immune system. Chinese herbs also do not typically have side effects such as drowsiness, elevated blood pressure and pulse rate, anxiety or nervousness, or difficulty sleeping that are associated with over-the-counter and prescription medications.
In addition to regular acupuncture and herbal medicine, here are a few things you can do to boost your immune system.
- Eat good quality food in appropriate amounts.
- Sleep well and regularly get 8 hours per night.
- Manage stress and working hours where possible. Meditate, do breathing exercises. Have a cup
of Stress Free Tea.
- Move, exercise, stay active. Yoga, qi gong, and walking are all great options.(link to yoga and qi
- Stay warm, eat warm foods, drink warm drinks and cover your neck.
- Do acupressure on Stomach 36 (link to video)
What to do if you become sick?
If you do become ill, check in with me at the first sign of illness (sneezing, stiff neck, scratchy throat). I can offer you herbal medicine, and acupuncture to help support your body to naturally overcome an infection. If you begin to feel the symptoms of the cold or flu coming on, it is important to visit your acupuncturist right away to get the most benefit from your treatment. Studies have shown that patients receiving acupuncture have elevated immune-enhancing hormones and blood counts for up to three days after treatment.
Acupuncture and herbs can:
- Help you get over the cold or flu faster if you already have it
- Reduce chills, fever and body aches
- Relieve sore throat, cough and congestion
- Address digestive issues
- Give you more energy
But, don’t wait until you are sick to benefit from the immune-boosting benefits of acupuncture. You can begin
regular acupuncture visits now as part of your preventative regime to ward off colds and the flu. Optimally, several acupuncture treatments are needed for the body to respond, and “tune up” visits would be beneficial until cold and flu season is over.
Even though we are enjoying the last warm days of summer and the beginning of glorious autumn weather, during the months preceding winter is the best time to boost your immune system so you don’t get sick when the colder weather arrives. A combination of the steps above, regular acupuncture treatments, prescribed herbs and rest make a massive difference and will restore an ailing system quickly and effectively, so you can enjoy life.