What Is Our Immune System and How Can We Strengthen It?
Our immune system is a beautiful and complex system of defense. Many of us know that the immune system acts as a shield to keep germs outside of the body, but beyond that we are not really aware of all the work it is doing for us on a daily basis, or how we can strengthen it. Following is a brief overview of the immune system, how acupuncture affects the immune system, and some self-care tips and products that can help keep us strong!
Viruses, Bacteria, Fungi, Parasites and all types of other micro-organisms live all around us and within us. As Dr. Seuss may say: they live here, they live there, they live everywhere. This is ok, in fact, in many instances it is good. Our digestive tract is a living testament to how wonderful bacteria can be, breaking down our food that enters our bodies into digestible and useful nutrients. However, there is a balance that has to be maintained between the harmful and helpful organisms so that we are able to thrive in our environments.The body is continually working to help us achieve this balance, and the immune system is one of those regulating forces.
According to Johns Hopkins Medical Research University, Lymph nodes, which are large part of the immune system, release lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Blood vessels and lymph vessels carry the lymphocytes to and from different areas in the body. Each lymph organ plays a role in the production and activation of lymphocytes. Organs in the lymph system include: Adenoids, Blood vessels, Bone marrow, Lymph nodes, Lymph vessels, Peyer’s patches (in Small Intestine), Spleen, Thymus, and Tonsils. Each has its own role in aiding in our body’s defense system.
Many factors affect the immune system, such as diet, lifestyle and environment. One of the main culprits of immune dysfunction is anxiety. When the body experiences this emotion, the many functions of the lymphocytes are reduced and diminished.
GOOD NEWS! Acupuncture has been clinically-proven to reduce anxiety and boost the immune system. By engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, resting the body for a significant period of time (20-90 minutes), boosting serotonin levels, reducing inflammation, enhancing phagocytosis (cells of the immune system that eat unhealthy cells), increasing Natural Killer Cell activity (cells of immune system that bind to viruses and tumor cells and inject them with Perforin in order to neutralize and end their harmful effects) and increasing lymphocyte proliferation, restoration of natural immune function happens easily.
What can you do on your own to help boost your immune system? Follow these 4 steps…
1. AIR-Keep Indoor Plants. Buy a HEPA Air Filter. Diffuse Essential Oils.
2. WATER-Drink Reverse-Osmosis, Filtered Water.
3. FOOD-Fill Your Plate with Organic Fruits and Vegetables.
4. LIFESTYLE-Daily Exercise. Laugh. Live in the Present. Get Weekly Healing Treatments.