The Seasons are Changing: Boost your immunity and protect yourself against the flu season
A healthy and strong body is the best defense against virus and sickness. With the change in seasons comes a greater vulnerability to becoming ill. Nights and mornings get colder, we may be surprised by sudden weather shifts and we spend more time indoors as it gets darker earlier. All of this creates a perfect storm of possibilities for virus and other airborne sickness to catch us off guard. But pathogens need a suitable host to make us sick and there is a lot we can do while we are healthy, to stay that way during these seasonal changes. People by nature are imbalanced and these transitions can exacerbate the imbalances in a person that are already there causing our immune system to weaken resulting in a cold or flu.
The best time for us to do something to maintain our health and wellness is to take advantage of the different methods available to strengthen our immune system and bolster ourselves against these tiny invaders. Simple steps that help are within the reach of everyone.
- Get enough sleep. A growing body of research indicates that we become more susceptible to illness when we are tired, as it lowers our defenses.
- Eat right to stay well.
- Be prepared for weather changes by bringing a rain coat, umbrella, a parka and a scarf along with you to prevent your body from suffering from wide temperature changes.
While these common sense measures help, boosting the immune system with herbs, supplements and acupuncture will also tonify the body, balancing the vital energy fields or Qi‘s (Chi) increasing our body’s resources to keep us healthy all year long. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic system of medicine that has developed an understanding of our body’s Qi (Chi) over several thousand years, applying a vast knowledge to keep us healthy, helping us recover more quickly when we do get sick.
Acupuncturists or TCM practitioners help us to manage these seasonal changes by evaluating the strength or weakness of our Qi (Chi) to assess what is needed to protect us against pathogens. They can determine our Qi (Chi) by testing our pulses. Unlike western medicine TCM uses over 30 pulses of the body as indicators of a person’s Qi (Chi). During the evaluation, the practitioner uses the four major pulses and the look of one’s tongue to quickly discern the state of health. When we are ill, the body has an imbalance that an acupuncturist can decipher from rapid, slow, moderate, weak or strong pulses. Or they notice someone’s pulse may be bounding, floating, deep or occluded.
We have all been told by the doctor to open our mouth and say AHHH, as they press down our tongue with a flat wooden depressor. How our tongue looks, the colors, shapes, whether there are cracks or swelling, veins distended, does it have raised prickles, what is the coat of the tongue, its dryness, wetness, etc. can tell a medical practitioner a great deal about our state of health and wellness.
Ones resistance to pathogens is increased with stronger Wei Qi (Chi), the defensive Qi. Weak Qi allows the pathogens to invade by a wind/heat attack or wind/cold attack. These are the pathways by which pathogens enter the body, through for example, your neck and face. So covering one’s neck with a scarf can help us to resist wind chill and maintain our body heat.
Food is the greatest source of Gu Qi (chi), and our diet needs to be adjusted along with the seasons. As we come into the colder seasons we want to eat warmer food, rather than cooling foods like watermelon, which are better suited for warm weather. As seasons change we see foods with more warm colors, yellow veggies and squash in the markets, which are fortifying for the winter, full of vitamins, warming us, great in soups and stews. (link this to our pinterest page)
The winter season is a time of replenishing, where all of nature takes a break, plants shed their leaves and the roots become dormant during what traditional oriental medicine refers to as a Yin or rejuvenating time of year. Nature prepares for the more active Yang seasons, where there is greater energy from the sun and more outward expression by plants and animals. This is the natural ebb and flow of energy, which we must follow to maintain a healthy balance and harmony.
This autumn, protect yourself from the colder weather and maintain your health throughout the winter by eating right, staying active, bundling up and getting an acupuncture treatment(have this link to the local deal) to boost your immune system. And if you should get sick, you will find that with traditional Chinese medicine, you will recover faster and experience what people for thousands of years have learned can help them to stay healthy through every seasonal change.
Come in for a complimentary consultation and pulse reading with the acupuncturist at Santa Cruz Core Fitness + Rehab to protect yourself and stay healthy. 831-425-9500 www.santacruzcore.com