How to Stay Well this Season

“What should I do to boost my immunity?”  I get this question a lot!  And with kids headed back to school, and a change of season on the way, I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss immune function from a Chinese medical perspective and talk about what you can do to enhance yours and your family’s.

The first thing we need to put on the table here, is this:  Immunity is a reflection of overall health.  If we are struggling with an imbalance anywhere in the system, our body will have less resources to devote to maintaining a strong protective function.  It’s simple energy economics.  Energy in the system will become tied up in working to correct an imbalance and less energy will be available to the rest of the system.  Therefore, becoming healthier boosts immunity.

This is especially true from the perspective of Chinese medicine, which takes a holistic view of the body/mind/spirit.  When I look at immune function in a patient, I do not see it as separate from the overall pattern of presentation.  As such, working to boost immunity will look very different from patient to patient.

All that said, we do have a few tricks up our sleeve…

1)      Chinese Herbs

Yu Ping Feng San has been used for centuries to tonify the Wei Qi, the protective function in the human body.  We often use this formula in our home for the kids as they push through long days at school surrounded by other kids, some of whom will be sick at any given time.  ‘Medicine Juice’ is a morning ritual at our house.  Finding a juice that masks the taste of the herbs is crucial for compliance.

2)      Pro-biotics

Let’s face it; we’re not alone on this journey.  The micro-biome in our gut (and on our skin and mucosa) is linked not only with healthy digestion, but with immune function as well.  We use this in our ‘Medicine Juice’ as well (along with some liquid Vitamin D).  There are some great brands that come in a powder form and mix easily.

3)      Lifestyle Factors

This cannot be overstated!!  Like, really.  Proper rest and nutrition are by far our biggest allies in staying healthy.  The stress associated with starting back to school and the change of seasons is significant for all of us.  Getting enough sleep and eating foods that provide a clean source of energy and nutrients is the best (AND cheapest) medicine there is.

This time of year is exciting.  Rhythm returns for many of us after a fun-filled summer of not having the kids in school.  Nothing can disrupt that rhythm more quickly, however, than ourselves or one of our family members coming down with something.  Chinese medicine has a great deal to offer in terms of treatment of colds, flus, and intestinal viruses when they do strike. That is the subject for another post.  In the meantime, we’d like to do whatever we can to help your family stay healthy this coming season.