Immunity

If you’ve heard in the media that there is a shortage of flu vaccine perhaps now is the time to consider some natural alternatives to boosting your immunity for the winter.

5 Steps to Boost Immunity

  1. Food – eat immune boosting foods and drink lots of water. In winter we want to balance the cold weather by eating and drinking warm things.  The benefits of chicken soup are not an old wives’ tale!  Bone broth is so nourishing and healing.  Remember that the majority of your immune system lives in your gut so you need to give it whole foods from the earth that it recognises and can obtain the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that it requires for you to heal you. As well as bone broth make sure you include good fats from olive oil and oily fish, dark chocolate (yey!), eggs and lots of fruit and vegetables of all the colours of the rainbow!  For immune boosting flavourings you can’t go past garlic, ginger and turmeric – veggie curry is sounding good!
  2. Movement – don’t stop your exercise routine just because it’s winter.Your lymphatic system, which is critical to fighting illness cannot operate effectively without muscular contraction, as it removes wastes and toxins.  So keep on moving peeps!  You might change your exercise routine with the seasons just like you change your food. Perhaps now is the time to take up some slower indoors movement like Yin Yoga, which taps into the dark, inward-focussed energy of the season and is exercise for the body and the mind.  If you don’t want to leave your house then there are lots of great options on YouTube to movitate you to move your body in a way that you find enjoyable.
  3. Being – you need ensure that your mental, emotional and spiritual bodies are protected from illness as well! More than 20% of the energy we expend is used by the brain!  Relaxation is super important and is not something that we prioritise in the modern western world.  Again your leisure activities might change with the season – now is the time to binge on Netflix, to read a great book by the fire or to hold a family board games championships! Stress plays a big role in reducing how well the immune system works.  From a metaphysical perspective we often come down with colds when we just have too much going on in our heads causing a lack clarity due to this overwhelm. Meditation is going to put your brain in the best possible state boost immunity as it has been found to reduce the grey matter in the brain’s stress centre, the amydala.
  4. Sleep – The cells of your body repair themselves whilst you sleep, in a process called autophagy. So when we don’t sleep enough we become much more susceptible to illness.  Again if we work with the season and accept that the nights are longer and the days are shorter, then we are meant to sleep more in winter.  You certainly need to prioritise sleep in order for your immune system to be the best it can be.
  5. Surroundings – Although I do think it’s important to live seasonally and move more of your daily activities inside in winter, fresh air is also essential for improving immunity. Our indoor spaces become full of positive ions – due to electrical equipment and stale air – which are associated with lower functioning immunity. So make sure you don’t totally hibernate!  We need Vitamin D so whenever the sun is shining make sure that you get out into it!  Walk or sit in the garden or a park.  The beach is amazing and deserted in winter!  At home or work leave a window open a crack to ensure air flow at all times or if your heating doesn’t cope with that why not throw that window open when you’re out for your walk? Other things to use to increase negative ions in your home and office spaces are salt lamps and beeswax candles.

To boost immunity in your indoor surroundings you can diffuse essential oils to get aromatic benefit and cleanse the air. You can also put them on a tissue or hanky to inhale from wherever you are. Applying the oils topically can also be very beneficial but remember to use a barrier oil or sorbolene if you have sensitive skin.

The thymus gland, along with bone marrow, is the primary component of the body associated with immunity.  Stimulating the action of this gland will be beneficial to improving your immunity. The thymus is located just under the join in your collar bone.  If you are applying an oil that you don’t like the smell of then you can use the reflexology point for the thymus on the bottom of your left foot on the inner bottom corner of your big toe joint.

The oils I would recommend are:

Frankincense – the best oil for the immune system, it is anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and great for coughs. Emotionally Frankincense will help you to feel protected rather than vulnerable.

Oregano – it is antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, and antiviral.  It is a very hot oil so definitely dilute it.

Thyme – it is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic and emotionally will help you move from feeling powerless to feeling dynamic

Lemon – it is antiseptic, antiviral and uplifting, emotionally it will help you to move from feeling confused to rationality

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) – it is analgesic (pain relief), antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, expectorant (stimulates removal of mucus), immune stimulating and emotionally it will help you to move from intolerance to understanding

  1. Sleep – The cells of your body repair themselves whilst you sleep, in a process called autophagy. So when we don’t sleep enough we become much more susceptible to illness.  Again if we work with the season and accept that the nights are longer and the days are shorter, then we are meant to sleep more in winter.  You certainly need to prioritise sleep in order for your immune system to be the best it can be.