We have the power to influence our immune system in its innate ability to protect us from the biological/environmental stresses that can bombard us from many directions. There are actions that we can take – good and bad – that can help determine our ability to fight viruses and other invading pathogens.
As we are currently in a worldwide viral crisis, we are being educated on some of the things we can do to minimize ours, and others, potential exposures: Wash frequently, don’t touch your face, avoid gatherings with lots of people, put distance between you and others who are sick, cover your mouth and nose if coughing or sneezing, stay home if you are sick, wear a mask if you are sick and need to be in public, etc.
While these basics are great recommendations, what we can do goes deeper. Controlling what goes in our mouth can go far in keeping us healthy. We can be eating better, healthier, nutrient-dense foods, especially when risk of illness is present. This means more veggies, quality proteins and complex carbohydrates like beans and legumes. Avoid eating foods that can weaken your immune system such as sugar. Since sugar can interfere with immune response for as long as 3 days, avoiding it altogether is an easy way to keep healthy.
Acupuncture is something else you can do to stay healthy. Many research results have identified acupuncture as being effective in regulating and strengthening the immune system. Used for thousands of years, acupuncture has been used before the onset of disease to prevent it. Considered “preconditioning” it was found that using acupuncture points (now proven to regulate the immune system) could be used to strengthen the body’s resolve to handle foreign invaders.
Acupuncture is also used after you are ill. In Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Published in 2015 entitled Acupuncture and Immunity, it was reported that by placing needles in specific acu-points, acupuncture was able to strengthen the human body to resist diseases. By increasing red and white blood cells, T-cells and enhancing humoral and cellular immunity, acupuncture enhanced anti-cancer and anti-stress immune function and exerted anti-inflammatory effects. Acupuncture also exerted protective effects on the intestinal mucosal immune barrier by increasing the concentration of helper T cells and other actions.
Once the immune system is compromised, acupuncture’s regulatory effect stimulates the immune system in weak immunity, or down-regulates it in instances of hyper reactivity.
In “Mediators, Receptors, and Signaling Pathways in the Anti-Inflammatory and Antihyperalgesic Effects of Acupuncture” by J.L. McDonald et al. they demonstrated the mediators and signaling of anti-inflammatory pathways activated by acupuncture. As inflammation is inexplicably related to immune function, mediating inflammation is crucial in supporting healthy immune response.
In studying the effects of stress and anxiety leading to immune impairment, it was found that those in the study suffering from stress and anxiety had “consistently significant improvement in immune function (including chemtoxis, phagocytosis, lymphoproliferation and Natural Killer cell activity) after every acupuncture treatment.”
You have the power to strengthen your immune system. Add acupuncture to your plan of action.
Note: In light of current events, we are happy to help you strengthen your immune system preventively. However, for the protection of our patients and staff, we are asking those who are experiencing cold/flu-like symptoms to stay home and not enter our office. For those that are ill, please call to schedule a phone consultation or to ship supplements.
©2020 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.