From our experiences over the last two years, we can all agree that maintaining a robust immune system is more important than ever. But, what does it mean to have a robust immune system? What steps can you take to help restore or optimize your immune system right now?
By the end of this article, you’ll better understand:
- What it means to have a robust immune system.
- How you will know if your immune system is optimized.
- Five specific things you can do right now to ensure your immune system is fully optimized.
What does it mean to have a robust immune system?
First off, a robust immune system does not mean that you never get sick. It does mean that if you do get sick, you don’t stay sick. When illness does arise, you recover fairly quickly. Second, the best way to optimize your immune system is to be proactive and preventative.
Forbidden City, Beijing China
The Forbidden City of ancient China is a perfect metaphor for a resilient and robust immune system. It had a strong fortress, well-prepared guards, and multiple levels of defense. In fact, the intricate system of walls, guards, and inner workings surrounding the emperor’s palace was so well fortified, it was nearly impossible for invaders to get into the emperor’s palace, let alone get to the emperor. It took dedicated planning and upkeep to maintain the entire system.
A fully optimized immune system has powerful external defenses. You can think of it as having an invisible suit of armor. While not entirely impenetrable, this “suit of armor” protects us from the elements (i.e., wind, cold, rain, etc.).
A fully optimized immune system also has solid internal defenses. Strong digestive, lymph, and circulatory functions in the body are all signs of resilient inner defenses. If something does get in, the body will have the energy, strength, and resources to ward off a severe attack.
When you practively take care to optimize your immune system, you’ll give your body the best chances to ward off major and minor illnesses. To help with your journey to good health and a fully optimized immune system, I offer the following five tips:
5 Tips to Optimize Your Immune System
Tip #1 to Optimize Your Immune System: Be Aware of What You are Eating
- Eat colorfully – Consume lots of fresh vegetables of a variety of colors.
- Reduce sugar and dairy – Excess sugar causes inflammation in the body, hindering our digestive system and ultimately our immune system.
- Add more garlic and ginger to your meals – Garlic has excellent antiviral properties. Ginger has excellent antihistamine properties in addition to the invaluable digestive benefits that will enhance your immune system.
Tip #2 to Optimize Your Immune System: Stay Active and Have Fun
- Increase your low-impact exercise – Taking a walk every day will help build your immune system. A 30-minute walk after dinner is part of the Asian food pyramid.
- Have fun – Depression is a considerable immune suppressor. So, be sure to get out as much as you physically can and enjoy time with friends and family. Do so outside as much as you can.
Tip #3 to Optimize Your Immune System: Dress Appropriately
- When cold weather, especially wind, gets in contact with our body, the body contracts. This contracture causes the energy not to flow as it should for optimum health.
- Dressing inappropriately for the weather is the most common cause of the common cold. Tibetans call this “catching the Windy.”
Tip #4 to Optimize Your Immune System: Rest More
- You should generally get 8 hours of sleep per night.
- However, winter is a time of hibernation, as seen throughout nature. So, in the winter, make it 9 or 10.
- If you are not already getting 8 hours of sleep per night, make that your starting point. If you are sleeping 9 or 10 hours already and feel like something is wrong, know that you are just fine.
Tip #5 to Optimize Your Immune System: Get Acupuncture Regularly
- Getting regular and frequent acupuncture treatments can help balance the Qi in your body to strengthen your natural ability to fight off disease.
- Acupuncture also improves digestion, sleep, and mood, of which I have already stated the importance.
Our aim is always to help your body, mind, and spirit fall back into their natural rhythms. By following these Five Tips for Optimizing Your Immune System Right Now, you’ll improve your immune system and increase your chances of staying healthy and well.
For additional tips specific to the winter season, check out our seasonal-specific tips here: How to Optimize Your Health in the Winter.
Of course, we’re always here to help when health concerns arise with 100% holistic care, no matter the issue. We’ve given over 18,000 treatments and counting, so we’ve seen pretty much every woman’s health and fertility issue, hormonal issue, or chronic illness out there.
We know how to awaken your body’s natural resources using a unique combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medications, targeted nutritional support, and mind-body medicine.
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*This article was originally published in October 2019. It was updated in January 2022.
**This article’s content, information, opinions, and viewpoints are intended for educational purposes only and should not form a basis for self-diagnosis.
About the Author - Michael Hurley, L.Ac.
Michael is the co-founder and acupuncturist at Cup of Life Healing Center. He specializes in Women's Health and Fertility--a passion born from he and his wife's own fertility journey. Michael holds a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM), one of the top-rated acupuncture schools in the country. He is nationally certified with the NCCAOM and licensed by the State of New Hampshire to perform acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Michael has also dedicated himself to rigorous and extensive advanced reproductive endocrinology and reproductive medicine studies. He is a board-certified reproductive acupuncturist with The Acupuncture and TCM Board of Reproductive Medicine (ABORM). He is also certified in 5-Element Functional Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine.
Cup of Life Healing Center has two locations: 82 Washington Street, Suite 2, Keene, NH and 400 Amherst Street, Suite 402, Nashua, NH. The clinic can be reached via phone or text at (603) 352-3625.