The change of season and the transition into Autumn is a natural time to start thinking about our immunity; this seems even more pertinent in the midst of COVID-19. Hospitals in China are utilising Chinese medicine concurrently with Western medicine in the treatment of all stages of coronavirus, and as a preventative measure to limit disease progression and improve overall immunity. Long term, maintaining good habits around sleep, stress management and digestion best support our overall immune function.
Chinese medicine and Immunity
Chinese medicine is centuries old and many of the Classical texts are dedicated to the differentiation and treatment of infectious diseases. Chinese herbal formulas both enhance the body’s natural immune defences as well as limit the ability of the infectious agent to replicate. Acupuncture activates the body’s regulatory responses, supporting our ability to mount an essential immune response.
Sleep and Immunity
Restful and adequate sleep is essential for optimal health, particularly immune health. Studies have shown that sleep influences the activation of immune cells, and that even a few hours of sleep loss decreases the immune response. Without enough sleep, your body makes fewer proteins involved in the immune system, weakening your body’s ability to respond to an infection or illness.
Stress and Immunity
Stress also impacts on our immune function. When we are in a stressed state, our fight or flight response is activated and our physiology is primed to respond to an immediate threat, neglecting other long term functions such as immunity, reproduction and digestion. With chronic stress, your immune system becomes depleted, increasing your vulnerability to illness.
Diet and Immunity
A healthy balanced diet and good digestive function are cornerstones of a healthy immune system; your gut wall is home to around 70% of your immune system. A wholefood diet free from ultra-processed foods provides all the essential nutrients needed for good immune function, and a healthy digestion allows us to properly absorb and utilize them. Wholefoods also support the diversity of our gut microbiome, which communicates with our immune system to protect against pathogens and disease.
A change in season can be a time when we are more susceptible to illness. Chinese medicine can support your body to transition into Autumn, enhancing your immunity and helping to keep you healthy and vital. Self-care strategies to maintain sleep, stress management and good digestion are important tools for optimal immune function.
The clinic is open and I am conducting consultations as usual. In addition to the infection control procedures required of me as an acupuncturist, I have implemented additional cleaning of shared spaces and surfaces to keep us all safe. If you do not wish to attend in person, I am available to dispense herbal medicines and supplements for pick up or post as needed. Please get in touch at hello (at) kimberleylaurence (dot) com (dot) au with any questions.