I'd be willing to bet you're ready to boost your immune system right about now.
This time of year, I get asked over and over: "How can I keep from getting sick?"
Here are four of my favorite simple ways to boost your immune system. They may make colds and flus less frequent, and, just as importantly, less severe and less long-lasting.
#1: HYDROTHERAPY (hot/cold showers)
This is a simple and pretty much free (as long as you've got hot water on tap) way to boost your immune system. Using hot/cold in the shower has similar effects to the traditional practices of sauna/snow, sweatlodge/creek, etc.
There are just 4 steps:
- Take a hot shower, as hot as you can stand, until you feel truly warmed up. (Please. Get warm. If you're not warm before Step 2, you're just going to give yourself a chill.)
2. Change the water to cold. ("Cool" works too. The water doesn't have to be frigid, but it does have to feel like a contrast to the heat you were just under). Let the cold/cool water run over you, front and back, for about 30 seconds.
3. Go back to hot water for 1 full minute. Then, alternate: do another round of cold for 30 seconds, another round of heat for 60 seconds, and END ON COLD for 30 seconds.
4. Dry off right away. Then, rub your skin with a dry towel, creating some friction to warm up the surface of your skin again. Be sure to use that dry towel to rub the front and back of your torso as well as your extremities.
What does this do? Essentially it enhances what your blood and lymph are doing already, by promoting circulation. The heat brings your blood to the surface, then the cold sends it down into your organs. Alternating temperature pumps it back and forth.
Also, in Chinese Medicine terms, this invigorates and fortifies the Taiyang layer of your body. The Taiyang is the most superficial layer, the one that protects us from "external pathogens."
#2: GET ENOUGH SLEEP
It's simple: We have to sleep to be well. How many of you have stayed up too late or had a night of insomnia, and then come down with that cold that was going around? It's often a pretty direct correlation.
For some of us, getting enough sleep just means going to bed early enough that we get the hours in. For others, this means doing a few things to become ABLE to have a deep, long, restorative sleep.
Sleep is one of my very favorite things to help people with - because it helps with just about EVERYTHING else!
If you need some help getting your sleep on track, reach out! I'd be delighted to take you through a Chinese Medicine / holistic health coaching session focused on sleep.
My Acupressure for Anxiety course also gives you a terrific way to promote sleep on your own. Knowing how to use your own hands to treat the acupuncture points on your own body - talk about an effective, low-cost, low-carbon footprint tool!
#3: CUT OUT (or down on) SUGAR and any FOODS YOUR BODY DOESN'T DO WELL WITH
No matter what else you're doing to support your immune system, if you're eating foods that leave you inflamed, weakened, and undernourished, you will have a harder time fighting off colds and flus.
Refined cane sugar isn't good for anyone's immune system. Many people are also in a chronic state of reaction to foods like dairy, gluten, soy, corn, eggs, and/or nightshade vegetables.
For any client who's up for it, I encourage a 3-week anti-inflammatory, cleansing diet of whole foods, which is wonderful for learning how to eat in a truly nourishing way. After three weeks, I help them through a methodical reintroduction of the foods they'd cut out, which lets them figure out which foods had been triggering symptoms or reducing their well-being.
After going through this process, people know what they personally should NOT eat (so their bodies aren't overly stressed), and they've found so many delicious ways to eat fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins (so their bodies are deeply nourished).
I love coaching people through these programs. Contact me if you'd like to jump in!
#4: Take supplemental Elderberry Syrup and Acerola Cherry Powder
For even more strength, I am a huge fan of taking daily
- Elderberry Syrup (seen in traditional herbalism AND modern research to make colds and flus less frequent and less severe)
- and Acerola Cherry Powder (a concentrated form of natural, whole-food-form Vitamin C. I find it gives a powerful boost to the immune system, both for preventing colds and flus and helping us get over them faster)
Here are links to my favorite brands of each:
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