The current state of panic is being fueled by an irresponsible and sensationalist media. Panic directly and quickly weakens immune response. In the words of Epidemiologist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, MD (facebook post dated 3/5/20) , let’s return to talking reasonable precautions, lowering our stress levels and being there for each other and our communities. This will go a long way in maximizing our health and immunity. The following are important preventative measures we can take to increase our likelihood of staying healthy:
- CREATING STRONG VITAL ENERGY / QI: In Chinese medicine, the ability to fight and expel pathogens is based on strong Qi (Vital energy) . This is dependent on a few things:
- Having sufficient quantity and quality of Blood (including red and white blood cells, adequate nutrients including minerals)
- A strong digestive system is the basis of a strong immune system; it insures we can actually be nourished by the foods we eat (assimilation).
- Having strong lungs to directly support Qi.
- Adequate quality and quantity of sleep
- Regular exercise
- Low toxicity levels in the body. Toxicity includes an overabundance of parasitic microbes such as yeasts, harmful bacteria and protozoans.
2. WHAT TO AVOID:
- Poor diet weakens digestion: irregular eating schedule, eating too much raw or canned foods, cold or raw foods, too much or too little protein, late night eating, eating in front of the TV or while reading, etc…
- Regular or excessive intake of alcohol and other drugs, smoking. Alcohol is used in Chinese herbology to warm and speed the flow of blood circulation. It also will bring harmful bacteria and viruses deeper into the body, thereby making colds and flu symptoms worse. The “heat” from the alcohol adds to the “heat” of bacterial infections. Normally, the body will try to clear infections outwards via urination and sweating. But in this case the alcohol directs the harmful pathogens to deeper organs: ie: Liver and Spleen. Also the SUGAR from alcohol would make any infection spread more quickly
- Chronic stress will dramatically weaken immunity. When we are in the fight or flight response (angry or scared), the immune system automatically shuts down. Prolonged stress can have long term consequences, lowering immune response and making us vulnerable to opportunistic infections and even chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer.
- Fatigue from chronic lack of sleep or poor quality sleep.
4. WHAT TO DO:
- Reduce stress:
- Have a daily meditation program. There are several excellent meditation Apps out there including the popular “Headspace” with many choices of guided meditations. I have regular meditation groups Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings which are now meeting on Zoom.
- Exercise daily: walking outdoors especially in this beautiful spring weather will help lower stress. Also, Yoga, T’ai chi or Qi gong practices can quickly change your state of mind
- Don’t engage with people who always see the glass as half-empty. Surround yourself with people who inspire and uplift you.
- Eat fresh foods, and avoid raw and cold foods as much as possible
- Get to bed early and allow yourself to have at least 8 hours of quality sleep
- If needed, get a few acupuncture treatments to maximize your immune system, lower your stress and help with sleep
- Trust your body; it was designed to protect you!.
Although my clinic is open, I am also offering Zoom health consultations; this can provide you with a Chinese medical evaluation of your state of health and immunity based on your symptoms, history, tongue diagnosis, life style factors, etc., and a detailed plan to support health and well-being. This can include dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal and essential oil recommendations, meditation and mindfulness practices to lower stress.
Take the best care, and stay safe!