As the threat of a pandemic looms, now more than ever people are searching for information. Information is power. Many of us feel powerless against the novel coronavirus, and so we relentlessly browse the internet and poll our friends for suggestions on how to stay well in these uncertain times.
The problem with this strategy is that the information received may lead one to believe there is actually little they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from this illness. Frankly, there are several proactive steps one can take, such as creating an emergency supply kit with food, water, medicine, and anything you may need to be self sufficient while quarantined or sheltering in place. You can adjust travel plans, and you can buy an N95 safety mask. I believe that number one thing you can do is strengthen your immune system.
From my perspective as a bodyworker, there are two main sides of the immunity coin: digestive health and stress response.
As such a large percentage of your immunity actually starts with gut health, you’ll need to examine your diet. Exclude suspected food intolerances, limit dairy which is an inflammatory food, (all dis-ease has its root in inflammation), and supplement with a quality probiotic. There are myriad options as far as vitamins and herbs to kick start your immune system as well.
Now let’s talk about stress and its role in illness and the immune system. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can also suppress the effectiveness of the immune system, lowering the number of lymphocytes.
I believe it is Eckhart Tolle who is credited as saying there are only three things one can do in an uncomfortable situation – remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it.
Clinical immunologist Leonard Calabrese, DO, speaks to how one can minimize the effects of stress on the immune system: “Eliminating or modifying these factors in one’s life is vital to protect and augment the immune response.” While we may not be able to entirely remove ourselves from the threat of a nasty virus or a highly stressful lifestyle, and acceptance alone seems akin to lying down and waiting for the worst, acceptance coupled with intelligent planning and proactive change is our best strategy for staying healthy. How can you lower your daily stress burden? In Southern California, your options are local and limitless ~ yoga, meditation, outdoor fitness such as cycling, surfing, hiking, or anything else to feed your soul and exercise the physical body. I would also humbly suggest you incorporate massage and energy medicine into your routine. If ever there was a time to book with One Healing, it is now. Give yourself the gift of a relaxing bodywork treatment, tending to your mind, body, and spirit on the massage table, and take back control. Your body, your immune system, your choice, your change.