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February 26, 2013 / Karen R Adams

building your immunity

Dr. Mao Shing Ni has this to say about our immune systems: ‘Think of your immune system as the National Guard coming to the rescue during times of grave danger – whether it’s a threat from the outside or a disaster on the inside’.  I just love that quote.

We tend to see our immune systems in one of two ways: either it is deficient and fails us, and we get sick, or it rages out of control and we get sick.  The thing is, it’s always trying to do its job.  It’s just that we live in times where it is constantly being called on.  Our environment may be chemically or emotionally toxic, and we allow ourselves to live in constant stress.  It never gets a chance to relax.  Over time, it gets tired and overwhelmed.

At that point, it can lose it’s ability to discern the good guys (our bodies, minds and spirits) from the bad guys, and it just starts firing at anything.  Or it can just give up, and stop doing it’s job altogether.

In Chinese Medicine, the Lungs, Kidneys, Spleen and Liver all have to work in harmony with each other in order for our Wei Qi, our Defensive Qi, to be effective.  If any one of these is overwhelmed, the others wear themselves out trying to compensate.  None of them are able to do their jobs properly.

You may be asking why I’m posting this now that we’re almost out of flu season.  The truth is, ‘now’ is always the right time to nurture and nourish our Wei Qi.  For instance, allergy season is coming up, and now is a great time to strengthen ourselves so we’re not affected this year.  And who among us is not experiencing stress, even if it’s ‘just’ the stress of a fulfilled, active life?  (Perhaps a little too active?)

Here are some things you can do to build your immunity:

  • Eat well.  Everything starts here.  Simply put, eat foods of all colors to get the proper building blocks to optimize your whole self.  Good immunity building foods to include with your base diet are shititake and reishi mushrooms, brown rice, quinoa, oats.  Garlic, chives, leeks and onions are rich in vitamins, minerals and oils that help us fight just about everything.  And the herbs cilantro, ginger, sage and turmeric are strengthening and help reduce inflammation.
  • Exercise – and make it fun.  Dr. Nan Lu says the best exercise we can get is walking.  Even better?  Walk like an old person.  Better yet?  Walk to a park bench, sit and smell the roses.  Movement and pleasure are the key ingredients to relieve stress, and stress affects everything.   It doesn’t have to be a long work-out.  In fact, CM encourages us not to work long and hard at exercise because we use up more Qi than we acquire; our net gain is less.
  • Get sun.  The ultra-violet rays of the sunlight can inhibit bacterial activity.  Plus sunlight helps us manufacture vitamin D, which is a player in so much of our health.  Get your sun before 10 and after 3, if possible so you don’t damage your skin.

Pretty simple, and easy to implement.  Make thesdaily affirmatione three things a conscious priority in your life, maybe help yourself out by using this affirmation so you remember.  You’ll be surprised – and pleased – with the outcome.

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