Acupuncture has gained popularity recently for its benefits in improving immune system function. This holistic approach involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and restore balance. While acupuncture is commonly known for its effectiveness in pain management, it also offers numerous advantages for boosting the immune system.
One of the primary benefits of acupuncture is its ability to reduce stress levels. Stress has a significant impact on the immune system, weakening its response to pathogens and increasing the risk of illness. Acupuncture helps to regulate the body's stress response by promoting the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers. This, in turn, reduces stress and anxiety, allowing the immune system to function optimally!
Furthermore, acupuncture has been found to enhance the production of immune cells, such as natural killer cells, which play a crucial role in defending the body against viruses and cancer cells. A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture increased the activity of natural killer cells, suggesting its potential to improve immune system function.
In addition to boosting immune cell production, acupuncture also improves circulation. The flow of blood and lymphatic fluid is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, as it helps transport immune cells and nutrients throughout the body. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, blood circulation is enhanced, allowing immune cells to reach their destinations more efficiently.
Moreover, acupuncture has been shown to regulate inflammation, a key factor in immune system function. Chronic inflammation can impair immune responses and lead to various health conditions. Research published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology demonstrated that acupuncture can modulate the production of inflammatory cytokines, reducing inflammation and promoting a balanced immune response.
In addition to the benefits above, acupuncture has been known to also assist with other things that may contribute to improved immune function:
Balancing Energy Flow (Qi): According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture helps balance the flow of vital energy, or "Qi," through the body's meridians. When Qi flows smoothly, it is believed to support overall health, including immune function.
Stimulating Lymphatic Flow: The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in the immune response by filtering out toxins and waste products. Acupuncture may help stimulate lymphatic flow, aiding in the removal of these substances.
Improving Sleep Quality: Quality sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. Acupuncture may help improve sleep patterns and address conditions like insomnia or sleep disturbances that can weaken the immune system.
Supporting Organ Function: Acupuncture is believed to influence the function of specific organs, which can indirectly impact immune health. For example, the spleen is considered important for immune function in traditional Chinese medicine, and acupuncture may be used to support its function.
It is important to note that acupuncture should not be considered a standalone treatment for immune system disorders or diseases. It is most effective as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments. Consulting with a qualified acupuncturist and healthcare professional is crucial to ensure a comprehensive and personalized approach to immune system support while supporting your specific needs and goals.
Book an appointment HERE with one of our highly qualified Acupuncturists today!
The sunny and long days of summer are quickly giving way to the cooler, shorter days of fall. Sept 22nd was the high point of the transition to fall, which according to the Chinese seasons, will shift from the first frosts of late fall at the end of October into the early stages of winter on Nov 8, 2020.
This is a time for focusing on what is most important to us; the days get shorter, reminding us that time is not unlimited. It is also the season aligned with the lungs and large Intestine - both of which are integral to a healthy immune system in the East Asian Medical Model. We can support these organs by understanding their role in our body and incorporating foods and habits to support them. This is also a great time to review our focus in life and let go of habits and practices that don’t take us closer to our goals. As the trees shed their leaves, we can take stock of what no longer serves us and let those things go.
The energy of fall moves us to embrace more comforting and warm foods. Here on our website rajawellness.com, you will find a list of foods that help to support health in the fall. Soups and warm teas are great this time of year - as fall gets more dry, it’s important to stay hydrated. Using buffered saline to rinse nasal passages will help minimize allergies and colds naturally. As the days get shorter, ensuring you are getting enough Vitamin D is essential.
The primary element of fall is Wind, classically known as the “first of the 1000 evils” in traditional East Asian Medical texts. As Wind begins to emerge, protecting ourselves from the wind is important to staying healthy. That “old wives” tale about wearing a scarf to keep healthy is actually backed by science - exposing the back of the neck to a cold wind can measurably depress immune system function for up to 48 hours. Simply sitting under an AC vent can do this, so make sure to wear a scarf. Getting quality sleep is also an important part of staying healthy during the fall and winter. Going to bed before 11pm allows your body to rest during the critical time from 11pm to 5am, where the Wei Qi (essentially our immune system) is replenished and strengthened.
Breathing correctly is also key. The lungs are the organ most strongly connected with our Wei Qi and they benefit from appropriate breathwork and relaxation. The large intestine should not be overlooked either. In the East Asian Medical Model, this is the organ of elimination. It must be functioning well so we can not only “let go” of the physical waste from our body, but also any emotions, thoughts, and habits that keep us “bound up” instead of moving smoothly through life. Again, hydration and adequate fiber are key. In East Asian Medicine, we don’t advocate strong purges, but rather healthy habits for a smooth, even flow. Getting adequate rest, eating well, and scheduling some acupuncture sessions will help boost your immune system and help your body embrace fall with health and energy.
Healthy Fall Foods:
Garlic ~ Sweet Potato ~ Ginger ~ Onion ~ Cabbage ~ Pears ~ Walnuts ~ Black Pepper ~ Radish ~ Rice ~ Leeks ~ Miso ~ Cardamom ~ Cinnamon ~ Chili ~ Navy Beans ~ Soy Beans ~ Almonds ~ Broccoli ~ Celery ~ Mustard Greens ~ Apricot ~ Banana ~ Eggs ~ Sourdough Bread ~ Sauerkraut ~ Olives ~ Pickles ~ Vinegar ~ Yogurt ~ Lemons ~ Limes ~ Grapefruit ~ Apples ~ Plums ~ Grapes ~ Chicken ~ Pork