Tips for Boosting your Immune System
By Therese Poon
Sleep or boredom
As Warwick mentions above the 'Wei Qi' or defensive Qi of the body retreats into the body at night while we're sleeping to repair and defend the body from the inside. Therefore it makes sense on these darker, colder nights, to simply get more sleep - thus allowing our "Wei Qi" to go to work.
This works preventatively also, if you've been around a lot of people with colds or you've been run down and feeling the cold more easily lately...having an early night can work wonders. If that is not possible, try a sleep in or even grab a midday nap if you can.
If you are already infected with a cold, the above also applies but needs to be adhered to more strictly. Go to bed early, stay in bed as long as you can and if possible, take the day off and stay in bed all day!
If you've been lying down for a long time or just can't sleep from discomfort, benefit can still be derived from simply remaining in bed and "practicing boredom"! It's important for the body to spend it's energy on your recovery and not on other things. Any time we're thinking, reading, watching TV or moving around then our energy is spent on those things and less on our recovery. So, being less stimulated and as bored as possible is the next best thing to sleep.
One way to describe hydration is to use the analogy of cleaning, as that is what the immune system is doing in a way. The body responds to invasive entities/bugs by encasing them with a thick, gooey like substance so that it can't spread, then we flush out that goo from the body. If something is sticky and we wipe it with a dry cloth, it will drag along the surface and be harder to remove. When we add cold water to the cloth, it's easier to move the goo but still not completely effective. When we add detergent and hot water, we clear the goo much more effectively.
Hence to further our analogy, it makes sense to drink more water (and remember that hot water cleans better than cold water does) to help flush away the 'goo' more easily.
The 'detergent' equates to the natural immune boosters that help get the job done. Things like; fresh lemon, ginger, raw honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, tea tree, eucalyptus, mandarin peel, Chinese white tea and many other Chinese herbs.
So my suggestion is to drink ridiculous amounts of hot water to help flush the system. It may increase your trips to the bathroom but that's a good thing.
You might also like to try adding lemon, ginger, raw honey and apple cider vinegar to the hot water. If you have a lot of phlegm to deal with, try adding some mandarin peel to the mix and eat mandarins and pears, not apples or oranges as they create phlegm. Avoiding dairy is of course commonly understood to reduce the manufacture of phlegm. Drinking hot, watery (non-creamy) soups with lots of garlic, onion and ginger is also a great way to hydrate and easily digest your food too.
If you want your environment to support your recovery or to help prevent infection you might consider using tea tree or eucalyptus in a diffuser, either in the bedroom as you sleep or in your work place. We recommend the doTERRA brands of essential oils due to their excellent quality and these are available from the clinic or you can sign up for your own account.
For stronger Chinese herbal remedies, feel free to book in for a short session with us as the herbs aren't available over the counter.
We all know in Melbourne that clothing layers are essential as the mornings can be icy and the afternoons quite balmy. So again the old wives' suggestion of "cover up so you don't catch a cold!" is quite literally valid. From a Chinese Medicine point of view, its not just bugs that enter the body, its cold itself. There are particular points that are more susceptible than others, for example the back of the head, just above the neck - hence we invented scarves.
Your Wei Qi (Defensive Qi on the surface of the body) is working hard to keep you safe from invading cold and 'flu bugs but why make it work overtime by wearing thin shirts, no jackets or exposed ankles and necks, when you don't have to? It's best to be more covered and slightly too warm, than less covered and more exposed to cold invasions.