Even as nature seems to be going inward this time of year, it seems that we insist on pushing outward - with an ever increasing number of seasonal festivities, holidays and family get-togethers. This increased stress, usually over planning such get-togethers, coupled with the cooler, wet weather, unfortunately leads us to being more susceptible to getting sick. The fall is known as the cold and flu season for a reason.
A lot of what we’ve heard from the news and national organizations has constantly talked about avoidance strategies. However, with the holiday season approaching, this isn’t a very practical strategy. Why not focus on empowering ourselves and boosting our own immune system, so we can be more resilient and less prone to getting sick?
So how can we keep ourselves healthy during the fall and winter months? One way that we can keep ourselves healthy is through weekly, then monthly, acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture has been clinically proven to boost the immune system directly; studies show that one acupuncture session can increase the number of red, white and T-killer cells in the body for up to 72 hours. Imagine how robust a series of acupuncture treatments could leave your body this holiday season.
Indirectly, acupuncture can help boost your immune system by its ability to regulate stress and sleep, which are two factors that are very important in keeping your immune system working. Decreased sleep and increased stress have been linked to a poor immune system. Acupuncture can help our bodies to get longer and better sleep, as well as to help decrease stress and the physical effects that come with it - such as increased inflammation, muscular tension and upset stomachs.
Finally, acupuncture can help strengthen the immune system through its effect on our digestive system. Our gut is part of our first line of defense. Acupuncture can help optimize the functioning of our digestive system, allowing our body’s own defense system to work better as well as help our digestive system breakdown and utilize nutrients’ from our diet that can help boost our immunity.
And speaking of nutrients! Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese medicine; also included is dietary and herbal therapy. By coming in for acupuncture treatments, a practitioner can also recommend certain foods and/or prescribe specific herbal formulas to help boost your immune system, based on your overall constitution, health history and the season. For example, I often recommend that patients increase the number of cooked, root vegetables in their diet that are often high in immune-boosting nutrients.
So while the fall and winter can be a flurry of activities, it doesn’t have to be a stressful time nor a time when we have to worry about getting sick. Empowering our own health by bolstering our immune system can allow us to stay healthy and enjoy the season!