Strengthening your Immune System

With the change of season can come many new challenges for our bodies to adapt to.  Energetically the shift from summer into fall is a rather dramatic as yang qi gives way to a stronger presence of yin qi.  With this transition, we are often more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu, as our body is trying to adapt to the sudden shift.  As we move into what is culturally called “Flu Season” we naturally start to seek out ways to strengthen our immune system.   Chinese medicine describes how our body is energetically aligned to help us defend against pathogens this time of year.  The energy of autumn resonates strongly with our lungs and large intestine.  When in balance, these two organs thrive this time of year, and are key players of our immune system. 

Our lungs disperse what is called Defensive qi, or wei qi, throughout our energy field.  Wei qi creates a cocoon field around us, helping prevent any pathogens from entering our field and body.  Our large intestine works to remove toxins from the body.  If the lungs are the first line of defense, the colon is the last line, pushing anything that did get into our system out.  Together, the lungs and large intestine work synergistically to keep us healthy.  The energy of autumn naturally resonates with them, increasing their ability and function.

Due of our environment and lifestyle, the resonance from nature may not be enough to support our bodies in the transition of the seasons.  Therefore, to avoid illness, we resort to a variety of options with varying degrees of success: flu shots, hot yoga, more vitamins, more rest, energy work, herbs or massage. We might also try acupuncture, essential oils or probiotics to support our physiology.

  1. Any acupuncture point on the body, when stimulated with an acupuncture needle will immediately send a message to the entire system to bolster the immune system. If you do come down with a seasonal illness specific points can be used to help target the affected area.
  2. Essential oils are powerful antioxidants that create an unfriendly environment for free radicals. They are naturally antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, anti-infections, antimicrobial, and antiviral.  When diffused they can help remove toxins in the air.  When applied to the skin they are rapidly absorbed and can affect every cell in our body within twenty minutes, penetrating our cell walls, increase cell oxygen. 
  3. Probiotics are great to take daily to help keep your immune system strong and to strengthen the colon and prevent constipation (constipation inhibits the function of the colon to be able to rid to body of pathogens)
  4. Viruses thrive in acidic blood, which is often caused by excessive processed sugar and/or too much dairy.  Cold weather can often trigger colds and flues, but it will only take root in your body if your internal environment is compromised.  We can view colds and flues as a sign our body needs to detox. 
  5. Don’t fatigue! Fatigue can cause our immune system to break down as our energy is not strong enough to properly circulate and support all our functions.  Get the rest you need.

Sources:  Modern Essentials:  A contemporary guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils; Support the Mountain:  Nutrition for Expanded Consciousness; Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture