Celebrating life on a daily basis is an important key to developing an “attitude of gratitude” giving us the ability to more deeply enjoy and accept our life as it is now with all of its joys and challenges.
Most of you would agree with this statement especially when it comes to celebrating the joys and comfortable aspects of our lives. But how do you truly feel about celebrating the challenges, in particular, the health challenges commonly seen when our immune system is in COMBAT?
Many of us have grown up to believe that there is nothing good about being exposed to bugs and germs and that expressing symptoms, such as nasal discharge, fevers, swollen glands, vomits and diarrhoea is unnecessary and should be avoided at all costs.
As a society, we have developed the term “SICK” to describe our misfortune. A term we associate with pain, discomfort, lethargy and dysfunction, far removed from the idea of a celebration. As a result, our brain becomes triggered to the idea of being SICK which further supports our feelings of ill health.
My challenge today is to show you why being exposed to bugs and germs, or even developing a cold, flu or childhood illnesses may help your body and be something worth celebrating!
We are bombarded externally and internally by living microorganisms 24/7, many of which are hugely beneficial to our well-being. There are, however, some disease-producing microorganisms (antigens) such viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites which are seen as foreign to our immune systems. These antigens, like a plague of mice, will become more prevalent when conditions are optimum allowing them to grow and reproduce.
Externally in our environment, for example, it may mean that certain bacteria and parasites are more prolific in hot humid conditions and some viruses may thrive in cooler, dryer conditions.
The key to good health, however, is not necessarily what is happening in our surrounding environment but rather how well our body can fight back and defend itself against foreign antigens (bugs and germs). It is, of course, a strong and properly functioning immune system that allows our body to do this.
So what is our immune system made up of?
There are many organs throughout the entire body responsible for creating an immune response. These organs not only produce cells to directly kill off invading antigens, they also produce memory cells so that our body can react quicker in the future. Such organs include the tonsils, adenoids, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, appendix, Peyer’s patches, lymph nodes and circulating white blood cells. Many of the symptoms of a classic cold or flu such as nasal discharge, swollen glands and fever are signs that the immune system is doing its job and proceeding on schedule.
Dr Stephen Cummings, a medical doctor and well know homoeopath, supports this by suggesting that “symptoms” represent the body’s best effort to heal itself. “By treating symptoms, you are suppressing the body’s natural response and inhibiting the healing process. Instead of treating symptoms, doctors should stimulate the body’s defences to allow for completion of the healing process.”
What are the benefits to developing and then conquering an infection?
- The body gets to rid itself of acquired toxins and waste products creating a healthier environment for the development of new cells. This may be part of the reason we often see babies, children and teenagers go through a significant health challenge just prior to a new stage of development. For example, when a baby is teething, a child is going through a growth spurt or just before puberty.
- The immune system gets a generous boost and emerges from the experience stronger and better able to confront similar threats in the future.
What role do we, as chiropractors, play in supporting your immune system?
The nervous system plays an important role in both the control of and activity of an immune response and therefore, we as chiropractors, believe it is important that your spine and nervous system are functionally optimally at all times, especially when it is being challenged.
What can you do at home when your immune system is in COMBAT?
- Rest, sit or lie in the sun and stay warm. A warm body is conducive to healing and fighting off antigens; hence why fevers are beneficial.
- Keep hydrated. Drink lots of clean, room temperature, or warmer, water. Avoid chilled drinks as they may lower your body temperature.
- Drink warm lemon and natural honey drinks. Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and honey has wonderful healing properties.
- Drink warm soups made from bone broth with lots of garlic, onion and fresh herbs. Broth is great for promoting gut health which is important in an immune response. Garlic and onions work as natural antibiotics.
- Eat fresh, clean healthy foods and avoid sugars, dairy and processed foods which may increase inflammation and mucus production.
- Use chest percussion and lymphatic drainage techniques. Ask your chiro to demonstrate.
- Take herbs, vitamins, probiotics and/or homeopathic formulas to support your body’s natural healing response. Talk to your chiro if you need help. We carry products for infants through to adults.
- Be aware of your internal and external dialogue. Instead of saying or believing you or your loved ones, are SICK, change your dialogue to:
“I am having a health expression”
“I am having a clean out”
“My immune system is being challenged and getting a boost”
“You are about to have a growth spurt”
“Adversities are things to be grateful for. If you shield the canyons from the windstorms you never see the true beauty of their carvings.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Let’s celebrate our health expressions this winter and into the future knowing we have strong, healthy immune systems.