With life starting to return back to normal, we sat down (fully vaccinated!) with Tara Diaz, LAc, a local acupuncturist and holistic health provider. Here are some of her recommendations for supporting your immune system.
1. Acupuncture & Acupressure
Acupuncture is best known for its pain relieving function, however, it also functions to regulate the immune system. I like to think of acupuncture as "the OG" of medicine. Over the years, we've collected lots of data that demonstrates acupuncture can assist with the common cold and flu, as well as help people who are chronically ill or get ill easily. Modern research now demonstrated that acupuncture can actually increase red and white blood cells which is very important when fighting an infection‡.
Certain acupressure points also have the ability to increase red and white blood cells, such as Stomach 36, or Zu San Li‡.
2. Food as Medicine
A healthy immune system starts in the gut. We can fortify our digestion by not overtaxing it with greasy and processed foods, adding in probiotics with fermented foods or by taking a probiotic supplement. I'm also an advocate of eating with the seasons. For summer that means cooling foods, like salads and smoothies. For winter, hot soups and steamed veggies are a great go-to. I also encourage warm herbs such as ginger to in the diet to keep digestive fire alive‡.
Exercise tells your body to move the fluids in your body via the lymphatic system. A brisk walk is great on the days that we may not have time to exercise. Moving your body every day is very important for your immune system. Tai Qi and Qi Gong are gentle ways to exercise, and have been shown to help people with immune function‡.
4. Herbal Medicine & Supplements
In this climate with life returning to normal, we want to be careful to modulate our immune system, and not overstimulate it. Overstimulating the immune system with herbs is not always prudent, especially if you have an autoimmune condition, allergies, or are fighting a virus. Some of the most researched immune modulating herbs in Chinese Medicine include Astragalus, Cordyceps Mushroom, and Reishi Mushroom. I recommend Vitamin D3 and C to patients for immune support as well‡.
*The views expressed in this document are that of Tara Diaz, LAc alone. Tara Diaz, LAc has not received any fee or consultancy payment for this article.
Disclaimer: The information stated in this article is for educational purposes only. The information stated is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body. The desire to make any changes to one's dietary habits or supplementation should be consulted and discussed with a licensed medical professional.