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Preventing Illness With a Strong Immune System

A couple of viruses have been going around our community lately. Did you ever wonder why, when a virus starts ‘going around’ not everyone ‘catches’ (or gets caught by) it? Why some people get sick while others don’t?

Who Gets Sick and Who Doesn’t

I would say the people who don’t get sick when something is ‘going around’ are the ones whose Immune Systems are in better shape.

The Immune System has everything to do with whether or not viruses or bacteria that infect your body actually make you sick, or whether they’re killed off by the antibodies the Immune System musters for battle.

Throughout human history there have been people who have been exposed to diseases, like bubonic plague for instance, and didn’t get infected. These were the people who took care of the others who did suffer from the plague.

And while there has been research showing that the ability to fend off some diseases is influenced by genetics, at the same time, the role a strong Immune System plays in ensuring good health cannot be overlooked.

If you have a healthy Immune System, you’re much less likely, not guaranteed, but much less likely to be infected by the germs we share the planet with that can make us sick.

Building & Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

From an Oriental medical perspective — and I make this distinction because the thinking is quite different between East and West on the issue of immune function — your Immune System comes primarily from the energy or Chi of the Lungs and Kidneys. And based on this way of thinking, what you do to keep your Immune System strong is you build strength in the Lungs and Kidneys.

By strengthening these two organ systems they’re better able to join energetically to provide you with the immune function that helps ward off viruses and bacteria which can make you sick.

How We Live Affects Our Health

As I mentioned, there are people who inherited genes that allow them to truthfully say: “I never get sick.” But that’s not most of us — and unfortunately, with all of the cultural and environmental challenges ‘going around’ today, fewer and fewer people will be able to make that claim over time.

Stress Undermines the Immune System. It’s essential to recognize that acute and chronic levels of stress suppress the vitality and function of the Immune System. This happens because ongoing stress causes tension along the body’s energy channels which causes them to ‘tighten’ and restrict the amount of energy or Chi flowing to the organs.

Remember: The organs supporting the vitality and strength of the Immune System are the Lungs and Kidneys.

Fortunately there are a number of things you can do to manage and recover from the impact stress has on your organs, and as a result, on your health.

Diet & Nutrition. One place you can begin to control the effects stress has on your health is to improve your diet. A healthy diet delivers the energy or Chi the organs need to be vibrant and healthy.

It’s a relatively simple formula: a healthy diet helps to improve health.

On the other hand, if on top of all the events in your life that cause you stress you add a poor diet ... that’s like being in the desert with no food and no water — not a good situation to be in.

Getting Back to the ‘Oasis’

So if you find yourself in the (metaphorical) ‘desert’ and running out of energy, the first thing to do is: Reorient yourself so you can find your way back to the ‘oasis’ where you can recover and refocus.

The first step is simple: Begin moving in the right direction. Take small steps. Begin by improving your diet. Begin by adding Oriental Medicine to your health care — the herbs, the acupuncture — whatever you can add-in ... do it ... start improving your situation.

Practice Chi Kung and do some whenever you can. That’s what I tell people who are learning Chi Kung ... and those who know some Chi Kung exercises but don’t find time to enjoy them. Just do a little bit each day. Do some breathing, do some stretching. Start wherever you can.

Start feeling ‘good’ because feeling good is a good habit leading to a stronger Immune System and good health.

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.