Are you suddenly finding yourself navigating the world of immunology and a little lost on where to focus with all the hype surrounding staying healthy these days? Well good news for you, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is packed full of knowledge to keep you and your household healthy for cold/flu/virus season. Here are some helpful tips to avoid illness and support your immune system function using acupressure points.
How can acupuncture & acupressure support immunity?
Following preventative measures, the best way to combat any virus is to support your immune system. In TCM our immune system is governed by a specific type of Qi or vital energy called “Wei Qi”, which is our energetic defense system and protects us from pathogenic influences and exterior attacks on our bodies, including viral infections. We can boost our Wei Qi and keep ourselves healthy by activating specific acupuncture points which increase immune functioning as well as decrease stress on our nervous system. Acupuncture is an effective alternative medicine that boasts a 5,000-year history treating a variety of disease conditions, and has recently shown to have an effect on physiological activities, specifically immune function. Studies have shown that acupuncture has a regulating effect on cellular and humoral immunity, meaning it can promote your immune response to secrete antibodies to fight against antigens, as well as secrete cytokines to attack pathogens. Translation: getting acupuncture will give your cells a powerful punch to fight germs and viruses.Acupressure, like acupuncture, is a method of sending a signal to the nervous system to “turn on” its own self-healing or regulatory mechanisms, but instead of using needles, you are using the pressure of your fingertips. Acupressure uses the same meridians and points as acupuncture does, and helps to correct functional imbalances and restore the flow of your Qi.Here's how you can palpate these acupressure points in the comfort of your home.
Acupoints To Support Immunity Acupoint LI 4: Located at the highest peak of the muscle mound, directly in the center when you hold your thumb against your index finger. LI4 releases the exterior pathogens for wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes, strengthens Wei Qi, improves immunity, decreases face and neck pain and improves circulation.
Acupoint ST36: Located 3 finger widths below the knee cap, one finger width lateral (out) from the anterior border of the tibia (shin bone). ST36 is one of the most specific points in the TCM meridian system that modulates immunity and is our most widely used point to boost Qi. ST36 also tonifies deficient Qi and Blood. Strengthens Wei Qi and Qi overall to target low immunity, chronic illness, poor digestion, general weakness and fatigue.
Acupoint LI 11: Located easily with the elbow flexed the point is found at the lateral end of the transverse cubital crease (inside the elbow crease) halfway between the crease and the tip of the elbow. Functioning of LI 11 includes reduction of high fevers, circulation issues, clears heat and external pathogens, increases immunity, regulates the Qi and blood.
Acupoint LV3: Located on the dorsum of the foot in a depression (the webbing between the toes) distal to the junctions of the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones. LV3 is one of the most commonly used acupoints for addressing emotional disorders but also functions in immunity by soothing the liver, calming the nervous system which has a positive effect on immunity and increasing circulation.
Press these points for 30 seconds each, releasing and repeating 4 times before moving onto the next point. For the feet points LV3, you can push these simultaneously and massage them in downward motions for 2 to 3 minutes. You can repeat this protocol as often as you’d like but we recommend at least once per day. Remember to breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth making this sequence a self care meditation to calm your body and mind.
Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself and others right now as we’re all feeling a little bit more vulnerable than usual and a pay it forward mentality goes a long way. Be gentle to yourself and listen to the messages your body is sending you. If you need healing come get acupuncture, if you’re feeling mentally overwhelmed try talk therapy, if you are feeling isolated make plans with supportive friends.Bundle up, eat warm soups and broths, surround yourself with comfort and repeat the acupressure immunity protocol above to keep yourself happy and healthy this season.
Why not call us at Ginger on 01727 869929 to come and see one of our experienced acupuncturists and give your immune system that much needed boost today.