As we enter the heart of winter, it’s important to focus on keeping our immune system healthy and strong to fight off colds, the flu and other viral infections. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture and a healthy lifestyle.
Boosting the Immune System
In TCM, the immune system is closely linked to the lung organ. The lungs are the only organ that directly interact with our external world via the air with breath which makes them the first line of defense when being exposed to pathogens (i.e viruses, bacteria, fungus). This also makes them a more vulnerable and delicate organ, so it is important to keep them strong and healthy. To boost your immune system, it is recommended to eat warm, nourishing foods such as soups and stews and especially bone broth (bone broth is rich in amino acids that help your immune system create antibodies that fight infection). It is also important to avoid cold, raw and processed foods. These foods put a strain on your digestive system and take away resources your body would need to fight an infection. Salads or raw vegetables are better to eat in the summer months when your body is more aligned with the warmer weather. Ginger, garlic and other warming spices such as cinnamon can also help to strengthen the immune system by increasing circulation and promoting healthy digestion.
Another way to boost the immune system is through acupuncture. Specific acupuncture points on the body stimulate the immune response and increase your resistance to infection as well as shorten your recovery time if you do get sick. Studies have also shown that regular acupuncture increases white blood cell and T-cell numbers (important infection fighters), with results that last up to 1 month after treatment.
How many acupuncture sessions will I need to strengthen my immune system?
A typical immune boosting treatment plan would likely be 1-2x per week for about 3-4 weeks. (This would be more accurately decided after an Initial Assessment and based on your specific needs). On the Initial Visit we will not only assess your immune system and how it functions, but also look at your overall health. You may be experiencing other conditions that can negatively impact your immune function such as poor sleep, stress, anxiety and poor digestive health. These can be corrected with regular acupuncture sessions.
In TCM, it is believed that staying warm is key to maintaining good health during the cold winter months. This means wearing warm clothing, covering the head and neck, keeping your feet and lower back warm and avoiding exposure to cold and wind.
It’s also important to stay warm from the inside out by drinking warm liquids and eating warming foods. This can help to reduce the risk of catching a cold or the flu and to maintain overall health and wellness by nourishing your qi and blood.
With the winter weather finally arriving this month, February is the perfect time to focus on your health and wellness through the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine. By boosting your immune system and staying warm, you can help to keep your body strong and healthy throughout the cold winter months.
To schedule an appointment give us a call: 905.553.9255 or book online via our website: www.besthealthacupuncture.com
Click HERE to read more about the role of the lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
About the Author – Amanda Barone, B.Sc, R.Ac, R.Kin:
Amanda Barone is a Registered Acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner’s and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). Growing up as a competitive figure skater lead her to have a constant fascination with the human body and how it functions. This inspired her to enroll in the Kinesiology and Health Sciences program at York University. Upon graduation, she continued her studies at the Toronto School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TSTCM) and graduated with a Diploma in Acupuncture. It was here that she learned the intricate relationship between a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual health and the impact this has on one’s overall health and wellness. Read more HERE