Boosting the Immune System with Traditional Chinese Medicine
What is the Immune System?
Most of us have heard about the immune system and its necessity in the prevention of sickness as well as fighting off viruses and bacteria, but what is the immune system exactly? It is not an organ or pathway but rather a collection of various cells which act to protect the body from foreign invaders such as microbes, bacteria, particles, and toxic compounds. It is composed of two major categories of cells which are the innate immune response (phagocytes, NK cells, granulocytes, and physical barriers) and the adaptive immune response (T and B lymphocytes, which are produced in the bone marrow and lymphatic system). The innate immune response is the first line of defense and is a non-specific defense mechanism, which means that it does not necessarily recognize the specific foreign invader, but will just recognize that it is foreign. Once recognized, the innate response will kill or remove the invader through different mechanisms. If the invader is not removed through this mechanism, the stronger immune system (adaptive) will act to remove it by activating the T and B lymphocytes. Once activated, these cells will work to recognize the specific binding sites of the invader to produce antibodies which will disarm the invader. The adaptive immune response is often called the immunological memory, as once the body has created the necessary antibodies to fight an invader, it can easily do so again if the body is attacked by the same strain. This is also the reasoning behind vaccinations.
How Do You Boost The Immune System?
Boosting the immune system refers to allowing the immune system cells to readily do their job. If the body is perfectly healthy and functioning, this will be much easier. If the body is taxed by stresses, illnesses, or malnutrition, it will be harder. Thus, in Chinese medicine, the focus is not always on strengthening the immune system specifically, but rather the whole body to allow the immune system to function optimally. Since the immune system resides in the blood and lymphatic system, proper circulation of these systems is essential to good health and must be promoted.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine Boost the Immune System?
First and foremost, proper diet and exercise need to be in place in order to obtain any benefits. Having successfully accomplished that, here are some amazing herbs and acupuncture/acupressure points to boost the entire body and immune system. However, the key to gaining results through the herbs is by finding the proper herb(s) to match your body or constitution. The herbs are typically not generically use but must be prescribed according to the individual. There is no substitute for seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. At Acupuncture Herbs and Beyond, we will properly address any weakened organs which may contribute to lowered immunity. Dr. Weihui Li will prescribe herbs specific to your individual profile.
Acupuncture at Acupuncture Herbs and Beyond can regulate immune function and treat the underlying cause of the disease by reducing symptoms, speeding up the healing of infection and normalizing the body’s immune response. It works by stimulating specific portions of the autonomic nervous system through selected acupoints, which in turn causes responses in the immune system. Acupuncture can cause a rise in levels of interferon, and the immune system’s messenger hormones. Regular acupuncture therapy can be effective in boosting the body's immune system and treating asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, colds and infections.