If you feel like you experience seasons where you just can’t catch a break and continuously fall ill, there’s likely a few areas you may be shortcutting yourself and your immune system and a worse-than-usual flu season may not be, solely,where the blame should lie.
Below are 4 ways you could be weakening your immune system and how to combat that.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Not only is Vitamin D helpful in staving off or reducing your chances of getting cancer, it also guards against colds and flu as well as helping to combat risk of infection.
So how do you get more Vitamin D if you feel like you’re not getting enough? From the sun! Not only does it provide our bodies with an adequate amount, but it also helps to balance Qi which helps nourish our Kidney Yang. This helps to give our body warmth, thus keeping our tissues and organs functioning properly.
Not enough sun? Not to worry! There is a large variety of Vitamin D supplements that can be taken, but be sure to consult with us and your doctor before use.
Lacking In Sleep
The National Heart Blood and Lung Institute states that "during sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems, including an improper balance of Cytokines. Cytokines are inflammation and infection targeting proteins both produced and released during sleep. In short, skipping the shut eye can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and even get along with others.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests the following sleep range based on your age:
Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
Adults (18-64): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
Washing Your Hands
Washing your hands is key in preventing illness or infection. Not only does the act of washing your hands matter, but the duration of how long you’re washing them for is important too!
We have some disturbing statistics for you that will hopefully encourage you to take more time in the realm of hygiene. A few studies from the American Society of Microbiology and Michigan State University found the following:
One of the ways that your body heals itself is by producing T cells (a substance in your blood that fights infection). There’s a lot that’s impacted within your body when you become stressed. At a basic level, your body will release cortisol, which impairs T cell production and the ability to fight infection from foreign invaders. Being stressed directly impacts your immune system, so it’s important to find ways to relax!
Another way to combat stress is by using Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupressure points! Yes! Acupuncture can absolutely alleviate stress and anxiety!
By activating specific points known to address these problems, we can actively affect positive change in ones emotional and mental wellbeing! Here are a couple points that can be used:
Ear Shen Men -
This point, Heart 7, is also called Shen Men meaning Spirit Gate. This point reduces excesses that disturb the spirit and the balance of yin/yang. This point is so powerful that TCM practitioners often praise Shen Men as being the most calming and relaxing point in the body, while also being highly accessible.
Union Valley (LI 4)-
The point is known reduce stress, headaches, and neck pain. It’s also used to treat swelling and pain of the eye, nasal obstruction, sore throat and much more. This point is located on the back of the hand at the apex of the webbed triangle between the thumb and the index finger.
CV 17 -
Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17) is a great self-help point for many reasons. Conception Vessel 17 is easy to find, and matches the location for the heart chakra, at the center of the sternum. With this point you will find potent stress and anxiety relief, as well as an opening of the chest and relief of acid indigestion.
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If you’re ready to start living a healthier lifestyle with Acupuncture and TCM, don’t wait, reach out and schedule an appointment today!
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.