Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a holistic approach to illness and focuses on prevention and treating the early stage of an illness rather than treating after the onset. Preconditioning with acupuncture means to stimulate certain points in the body to make the body and its’ systems work at optimal level which has been widely practised in ancient times until today.
According to TCM theory the first line of defence is the “Wei Qi”. This is a type of energy that is thought to circulate just beneath our skin and regulate sweating and immunity. It is dependent on lung function and controls the opening of pores on the skin. It keeps pores closed preventing disease factors getting into our bodies. Long before viruses and bacteria were recognised as pathogens which cause disease, TCM doctors referred to “pathogenic factors.”
Under normal circumstances, the body depends on the immune system and a strong “Wei Qi” to fight against various infections and to clear up harmful substances in order to keep a clean internal environment. When the immune system functions normally, health can be maintained; otherwise disharmony will occur and give rise to illness.
How can Acupuncture help?
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have great success at helping immunity by regulating energetic imbalances in your body and stimulating body signalling chemical such as hormones and neurotransmitters to bring your body back into good health.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the nerves, blood, lymph, muscles, and tissue of the body to correct imbalances and retrain the body to function optimally.
Here is what research has found:
“Researchers conclude that acupuncture benefits the immune system. In a controlled laboratory experiment, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine researchers discovered that electroacupuncture stimulation of acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli) “enhanced the level of immune cytokines and splenic CD4+ T cells through TRPV channels.” ¹
The findings are significant because CD4+ T cells are of vital importance in human immune systems. These cells are referred to as helper T cells and are active in the immune system’s defence against microbes, including viruses.
The point Stomach 36 is one of many points in the body that can be used to boost the immune system and therefore help to fight off pathogens.
As TCM practitioners we always recommend treatment while you are healthy and symptom free, as this will provide a life of high level health and well-being.
Other tips to keep the Immune system strong
- Get Regular sleep: Lack of good quality sleep disturbs regulation of key chemicals produced by the immune system to fight infection. In fact, sleep deprivation (less than 7 hours a night) has been shown to triple your chances of getting ill. This is why when you have an infection your body forces you to feel tired so that you can help fight the pathogens through sleep.
- De-stress: Stress hormones suppress the immune system. Finding ways to reduce stress such as acupuncture, gentle exercise, massage, breathing exercises or meditation will improve your immune system.
- Eat right: Defensive Qirequires a broad-spectrum of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in order to thrive, and those are best obtained from a diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables, and contains healthy sources of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
- Spicy, warming and pungent foods are good choices to keep the body temperature up, so make liberal use of garlic, onions, radishes, cinnamon, pepper, ginger and chilli.
- Drink herbal teas: Astragalus Root (Radix Astragali, Huang Qi)
Astragalus Root is one of the best herbs to boost the ability of your immune system to function. It works by increasing the number of active immune cells, as well as their activity.
Asian Ginseng (Chinese/Korean Ginseng, Panax Araliaceae, Ren Shen): Asian Ginseng is another great immune booster which works by increasing the effect of all the cells in the immune system
All these little tips will help you to build a strong Wei Qi, a healthy defensive or immune system.
If you would like to take charge of boosting your immune system, book in an acupuncture session and we can work on immunity and calming your nervous system to help you through these stressful times. We also offer consultations over the phone if you have cold and flu symptoms.
We are taking extra precautions in regard to hygiene so you can visit us with confidence.