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 acting as a defense against them. When your immune system is not running properly, the body becomes more susceptible to illness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has focused on immune health for centuries. TCM believes that disease and illness arise when there is an imbalance of Wei Qi in the body. When these energies are not in equilibrium, the body’s natural energy flow, Qi, experiences disturbances, and oftentimes results in illness.
To keep the body working properly, modalities such as acupuncture, Gua Sha, herbal medicine and acupressure, are used to bring the body back into balance. These methods of healing are what ultimately support a healthy immune system.
Acupuncture can help boost the immune system through specific acupressure points on the body. Here are a series of acupressure points to boost immunity and support your Wei Qi.
Acupuncture for immunity
KIDNEY 27: To locate this point, place your hands on either side of the depression on the lower clavicle bone. From here (with your fingers below the clavicle) separate hands approximately 1-2in horizontally (outward toward shoulders).
An excellent immune-boosting point used for common colds, influenza and for people that have compromised immune systems. Kidney 27 is known to open the chest, descend lung and stomach Qi, and stop coughing.
LARGE INTESTINE 11: Large Intestine 11 is located on the tip of the elbow. The easiest way to find this point is to bend your arm, look down the outer side of your forearm to the elbow, LI 11 lies there where the elbow crease meets the joint.
Acupuncture can be a great way to get your immune system flowing as it should be. Other ways to stay healthy and keep your immune system in tip-top shape is to take Vitamin C, get plenty of sleep each night, avoid alcohol and other hindering depressants.
LUNG 7: Lung 7 (LU 7) is located on the inside arm above the wrist. To find this point interlock your fingers (palms snuggly together) and direct your attention to your lowest thumb. On the outer edge of your thumb, you will find the crease of your wrist. The point lies roughly one inch down toward the elbow, in a depression between the sinew and the bone.
This is a very common point to use for systematic relief of cough, headache and/or stiff neck. As the Luo point of the Lung channel, this point is used to treat anything related to the lungs (asthma, wheezing, bronchitis, cough, congestion etc.) and can help symptoms associated with a weakened immune system.
STOMACH 36: ST 36 can be found on the anterior (front) aspect of the lower leg. To identify the acupressure massage point, measure roughly four fingers below the kneecap on the outside edge of your shinbone. You will know you’re in the right place by flexing your foot back to feel the muscle below (the tibialis anterior muscle) begin to flex.
Performing acupressure on Stomach 36 is like a Vitamin C shot for your body. It is one of the most effective acupuncture points for strengthening the immune system, recovering from fatigue and boosting endurance.
Get into a comfortable position so that you can easily access all points. Apply finger pressure in a slow, rhythmic manner to enable the layers of tissue and the internal organs to respond. Never press any area in an abrupt, forceful, or jarring way. Keep track of the results of your self-acupressure practice to pay close attention to your progress and well-being.
Begin with Kidney 27 and work your way down the body.
Strive to complete this routine at least once in the morning and once before bed.
For more tips on how to take advantage of your body’s natural defense, message us for questions, or read our blog!
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.