By Alysia Anderson L.Ac., M.Ac.OM
The kid’s have started back to school. Time to break out last year’s sweaters. Fall is here. Fall is a time of temperature ebbs and flows, as late summer tries to hold on just a little longer, while winters chills creep in. This colder weather, along with seasonal shifts, is somewhat of a shock to the natural world, which we humans are apart of. It is a transitory stage, where wind, cold, summer heat, fire, dampness, and dryness intermingle until a healthy balance of the season is in check. These temperature/wind shifts (Known as the 6 Exogenous Factors in Chinese Medicine) make our bodies more susceptible to viruses and airborne pathogens.
In Chinese Medicine, there are four levels that a pathogen can enter. Each of those levels going deeper and deeper into the body, which is why it is important to keep our outer defenses strong.
The first line of defense: Wei Qi (Energy)
Like an aura enveloping us, the Wei Qi (energy) protects us and is the first line of defense to cold’s and flu bugs. Wei Qi circulates outside of our vessels in the skin and muscle layers, and through our respiratory system. When our Wei Qi is strong, we do not tend to suffer from cold and flu bugs, or if we do catch them, we are able to fight off the virus at the initial stages. Fever and chills are a sign that our wei qi is fighting against the evil pathogen. If the pathogen is too strong, or our Wei Qi too weak, the virus can enter deeper into the body which means worsening of symptoms. This of course leads to more time off of work and school, along with a depletion of our energy, as all of the bodies resources go to battle with the virus.
5 Tips to Strengthen Wei Qi & Keep Immune System Strong:
-Eat Right:Wei Qi” is derived from the qi (energy) from the essence of food. Eating healthy balanced meals, especially those foods in season, like hearty stews from late summer vegetables are great immune boosters. Below is a list of common immune boosting vitamins and herbs that are also beneficial.
Probiotics, vitamin C, Zinc, B Vitamins, and Vitamin A (avoid large doses of vitamin A, or choose beta-carotine sources instead) Garlic, Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake & Cordyceps, Ginger, Astralagus (Huang Qi), Nettles and Eyebright (for Fall Allergies) For more information, view my Boost Immune System with Food and Herbs blog.
-Get enough sleep
-Reduce Stress Response
-Wash hands regularly
**Regular Acupuncture treatments help keep the body and mind balanced, and can be used to strengthen the immune system during cold and flu season, as well as, prepare the bodies defenses during the offseason. (ie, regular treatments during the summer can strengthen the bodies defenses for the winter months) So if you tend to get hit hard every year with the newest viral or bacterial cold and flu strain, Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine can prove to be your shield.
Alysia Anderson, L.Ac. M.Ac.OM
An Sen Acupuncture & Massage Clinic
107 SE Washington St. Suite #134
Portland Oregon 97214