Top Immune Boosting Tips

Disempowering Messages from Government and Media

Over the past two years, I have witnessed the Government and the media consistently disempower people with messages of fear. It seems that having faith in one’s immune system has become a conspiracy, along with natural immunity to viruses.

To suggest that we should all take responsibility for our health has been deemed a selfish response, but I disagree, for the following reasons. 

Empowerment through Personal Health Responsibility

Assuming that someone else should protect you is not only incredibly disempowering, but it absolves you from having to take charge of your health. With more chronic diseases in the population than ever before, this way of thinking needs to change.

Going Beyond Symptom Suppression

All too often, people go to the doctor for various conditions in the hope that there will be a magic pill to relieve the symptoms they are experiencing. It might work for a time, but ultimately the problem doesn’t go away, it’s just suppressed. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to health. Taking responsibility for one’s health means getting to the root cause of the problem and finding ways to create harmony within the body.

Trusting Intuition over Conventional Wisdom

We have been conditioned to believe that we should trust the doctors rather than rely on our intuition; this way of thinking doesn’t serve anybody. In the fabulous words of Dr Seuss “There is no one alive who is Youer than You” and no one is better placed to understand how YOU work. It’s time to start taking charge of our health and abstain from giving anyone else that power.

Understanding the Immune System’s Role

It goes without saying that what we put into our body, as well as the stresses we put on our body, impacts our overall wellbeing. Understanding the role of the immune system and cultivating a routine that nurtures it, is important. 

So, what does the immune system do?

In a nutshell, it protects the body from external pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and any foreign invaders (of the germ variety).

Pretty important hey?! 

Starting Small: Tips for Boosting the Immune System

There is so much information out there and creating new ways of living may seem like a daunting task at first, which is why I always recommend starting small. Here are some of my top tips for boosting the immune system naturally:

Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) is exceptionally important for immune health. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D3 are associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection [1]. Depending on which country you live in, most of us don’t get enough natural vitamin D through sunlight exposure and should be taking supplements through the winter months. 

Managing Stress for Immune Health

Reducing stress levels is another important way to keep the immune system in tip-top shape. If you’ve heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response, you may know that when your brain registers a threat to your safety, adrenaline is released, which increases the heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, which increases glucose in the bloodstream, is also released, to enable you to evade the threat quickly. This is great if you’re being chased by a lion, but for the vast majority of us, the perceived threat is created in the mind. When cortisol levels remain high, the body restricts ‘non-essential’ functions that would be detrimental in a real ‘fight or flight’ situation. These functions include suppression of the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. Ordinarily, these stress responses would be curtailed once the perceived threat was over. However, if the stress becomes a chronic condition, this increases the risk of many health problems such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart disease
  • Insomnia
  • Weakened immune system.

Exploring Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness, meditation and yoga are some great areas to explore for reducing stress. Each of these modalities helps bring awareness to the internal world which is usually forgotten about. It is here that we can reconnect with the quiet, peaceful part of ourselves that is always there but so often overlooked in a world of chaos and distractions. As the Dalai Lama so eloquently pointed out, “we are human beings, not human doings”.

Embracing Yoga Nidra

One type of meditation that I always recommend to my clients who are just starting their journey, is Yoga Nidra. This is a style of guided meditation that aims to withdraw your senses from the external surroundings and bring awareness to what’s going on within the body. It is a fantastic practice to do before bed to aid in deep relaxation and restful sleep. A simple internet search will bring up many results. Here is one that I find deeply relaxing, but I would recommend you find one that resonates with you. It’s important that you feel comfortable listening to the voice that is guiding you.

Harnessing Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques can also be used to boost immunity. The breath can be used to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is where the ‘chill’ hormones come into play. Breathing effectively increases the level of oxygen in the blood which helps to fight off pathogens that thrive in anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). 

These are some of the exercises that I use frequently:

Box breathe – inhale deeply for the count of four, hold for four, exhale for four and hold for four. Repeat as many times as needed. The counts can be increased as you become more comfortable with the practice.

Longer exhale – inhale deeply for the count of four, hold for four and exhale for eight. Repeat as many times as desired. Extending the exhale activates the vagus nerve, which is responsible for the regulation of internal organ functions and plays a vital role in calming the nervous system.

Slow conscious breathing – using the breath to bring awareness to every ‘now’ moment is a powerful way of instantly shifting out of the ‘flight or fight’ response. Aiming for three breaths per minute helps to expand the lungs fully and allows prana (life force) to flow freely around the body.

Incorporating These Practices

Without wanting to overload you with too much information, these tips can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and help create lasting benefits. Please feel free to get in touch as we would love to hear about your experiences. 

Reclaiming Personal Health Responsibility

Let’s take back the reins and arm ourselves with the knowledge to take personal responsibility for our health.

The Benefits of Yoga

Conversing with the Self