This week I will share 3 ways to improve your immune system naturally.
Hello beautiful souls. I am Yasuko and it’s time for Massage Monday. The flu season is upon us. There are two ways to survive the flu season: One way is don’t get it by masking, washing your hands, etc. and we are all experts at that by now.
The other way is to have a strong immune system so you can fight hard if you get the virus. This week I will share 3 ways to improve your immune system naturally.
1) Raise Your Body Temperature
Your body has several kinds of immune cells. They are constantly patrolling your body and if they find un-welcomed foreign agents called pathogens, they start attacking those pathogens so you don’t get sick from them.
Your immune system is strong if these immune cells are abundant and active. Your immune system is weak if you don’t have enough immune cells or if your immune cells are not active.
If your immune system is weak, you can’t fight off those pathogens and you get sick easily and repeatedly or stay sick for a long period of time.
Your immune cells become very active when your body temperature is high. When you have a fever when you are sick, it’s a sign that your body is raising its temperature to improve circulation and activate the immune cells to fight off the virus.
You have your normal body temperature. It is said that when your body temperature is raised by 1 degree Celcius or 1.8 degree Fahrenheit, your immune cells are activated 5-6 times more. But when your body temperature is lowered by 1 degree Celcius or 1.8 degree Fahrenheit, your immune power is reduced by 30%.
Your core body temperature decreases with age especially when you hit 50. If you feel your immune system is getting weaker, and you tend to get sick more often, keep your body temperature in check.
You can raise your body temperature from the inside with exercise and food like ginger, I mean hot ginger tea, not ice cold ginger ale, and various other foods. You can raise your body temperature from the outside by wearing warm clothes or taking a bath.
In Japan, they say to keep your “3 necks” warm to keep your immunity strong. One is obviously this neck. The other two necks are wrists and ankles because in Japanese wrist is called tekubi which literally means hand neck. Ankles are called ashikubi which literally means foot neck. The wrist is a neck of the hand and ankle is a neck of the foot. So when they say to keep 3 necks warm, they mean to keep your neck, wrists and ankles warm to avoid getting sick.
When you are stressed out, your body produces a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is known to break down the muscles tissues. This is not good because when you have more skeletal muscles, your body temperature is higher and your immune system is stronger. When you have less skeletal muscles, your body temperature is lower and your immune system is weaker.
The stress hormone cortisol is also known to suppress your immune system’s effectiveness by lowering your immune cells.
So when you are stressed out, you are killing both your immune cells and muscles tissues with the stress hormone cortisol and your immunity power goes down and you can sick easier. But when you are relaxed, your body produces more immune cells and you get to keep your skeletal muscles because there is no cortisol destroying the muscle tissues.
You will lose skeletal muscles with age which explains the lowering of the body temperature.
Exercise is very important to keep your skeletal muscles and not lose them. Exercise is one way to de-stress because it produces happy hormones like serotonin and endorphins which are mood stabilizer and stress reducer.
Besides exercise, other ways to de-stress are massage, yoga, meditation, breath work, laughing, etc. But you may have your own way to de-stress. Let me know in the comment below your favorite ways to de-stress.
When you sleep, your core body temperature actually drops but this is when the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in. When also known as “rest and restore” or “rest and recover” state is active, your body relaxes with slower heart rate, slower breathing, more digestion and your immune cells become very active.
I can vouch for this because whenever I feel I’m coming down with something, I hit the bed and when I wake up it’s usually gone.
Lack of sleep and chronic sleep issues like insomnia and sleep apnea are linked to a higher cortisol level. And we now know how bad the cortisol is to our immune system. Cortisol is good for fight or flight situations but not for the immune system to fight the virus.
To recap, the 3 ways to improve your immune system naturally is to 1) raise your body temperature to fight off the pathogens, 2) De-stress to keep your muscles and immune cells from cortisol, exercise is good for both, and 3) Have a quality sleep during which immune cells are very active in fighting against the pathogens.
As you can see they are all intertwined with each other because our body is one intricate, smart, amazing machine. I hope this information is helpful in keeping your immune system strong and survive this flu season powerfully.
Massage Monday #617 3 Ways to Improve Your Immune System http://bit.ly/mm-617