March's tip is going to be a few quick bullet point tips to help you support your body's natural defenses. We're talkin immune system super boosts! Right now, you are getting tons of information from a million different sources about what is going on with this viral season and how to mitigate your risk. This is a quick review, with a few simple things that you can add to your pre-existing routine of handwashing and hand sanitizing.
1. Get more sleep - are you getting enough sleep? Maybe, but if you are like a majority of people, you aren't. Put some focus into getting that full 7-8hrs every night. It may mean sacrificing some screen time or cutting back on some activities, but it's worth it. Lack of sleep can increase the chances of getting sick after viral exposure.
2. Eat immune supporting foods -foods high in vitamins a, c, d, foods with antimicrobial and antiviral properties, anti-inflammatory foods and pre/probiotic foods can help support your immune system. Think citrus fruit, peppers, broccoli, garlic, turmeric, sauerkraut, cinnamon, almonds, chickpeas and so so many more! Oh....and stay hydrated...drink plenty of nourishing and hydrating liquids including of coarse water, but also broths and teas.
3. Get acupuncture - yes...come in for your adult nap time and enjoy some acupuncture. In Chinese medicine, there is a protective barrier on the outside of your body called wei qi, it's part of your immune system and helps protect you from pathogenic factors (ex. viruses, bacteria, fungi). Coming in for acupuncture will help to strengthen your wei qi, therefore it strengthens your immune response when exposed to pathogenic factors. This is a well researched benefit of acupuncture and Chinese medicine
4. Take herbs - there are a bunch of wonderful herbal medicines that can help to strengthen your body's defenses. My favorite formula for this is called Jade Windscreen and contains 3 Chinese herbs. My favorite version is modified to include adaptogenic mushrooms. Speaking of adaptogens....get some, they will help your body respond to stress and can help ward off infection. Think reishi, shitake, astragalus, and rhodiola. The adaptogenic altitude adjuster that I make contains both astragalus and rhodiola along with other helpful adaptogenic herbs.
5. Acupressure - in between your acupuncture appointments, give yourself some acupressure. Here are 3 awesome points you can use to strengthen your body's defenses. Below the descriptions are images of the points.
St 36 - Zu San Li - This is the gold standard immune system supporting acupuncture point. It is located on the lateral aspect of the leg, approximately three finger-widths down from the bottom of the knee, one finger width lateral to the shin bone. It boosts qi and blood, strengthens wei qi and targets immunity, low energy and poor digestion. Check out this study demonstrating how stimulation of St36 increases immune system cytokines, interferon and interleukin levels.
LI 11 - Qu Chi - Located at the lateral aspect of the crease of the elbow when flexed, this point is midway between the crease and the tip of the elbow. It is on the Large Intestine channel and not only does this point help to support the immune system by decreasing systemic inflammation, but it also helps to reduce heat conditions such as fevers and helps to expel pathogenic invaders such as viruses.
LU 9 - Tai Yuan - Lung 9 is the tonification point of the Lung...so it's pretty self explanatory that right now, this point is epic. It is located on the radial side of the wrist, at the wrist crease below the thumb. Use this point to strengthen lung function, direct lung qi down to help with cough and transform phlegm. This point is also the command point of vessels so its an essential point for helping to promote circulation throughout the body.
The acupressure should be applied with firm pressure for 30 seconds. Release the pressure and repeat 3-4 times on each point. This whole protocol can be used several times throughout the day, so every time you get a little break, give yourself some acupressure!
Overall, keep yourself warm, dry, fed, watered and rested....and use these tips to give your immune system a super boost!
**All information and resources found on balancedstonewellness.com are based on the opinions, experience and research of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider...even if that provider may be the author ;)