Cupping: See article by Dr. Michelle Yan!
Hydrotherapy: In addition to washing your hands often, alternating hot and cold showers are easy home hydrotherapy for quick immune boosting in our modern world. Here’s how:
3 minutes hot. 30 seconds cold. Repeat 3x, always ending with cold. Repeat daily. Always heat and cool to your tolerance. If you have diabetes or peripheral artery disease that inhibit your ability to sense temperatures, consult an ND for ideal temperature recommendations.
Principles of hot: short periods of hot (<5-mins) are relaxing to the nervous system and cause dilation of blood vessels between skin, underlying tissues and organs. This facilitates more heat and blood flow toward the surface relaxing skeletal muscle and tissue tone.
Principles of cold: short bursts of cold (<1-min) are stimulating to circulation and metabolism. Cold improves oxygen absorption while increasing peripheral white and red blood cell counts. Always end with cold as it drives blood flow back to internal organs.
Alternating hot and cold pumps blood and lymph carrying nutrients to vital tissues while eliminating toxic by-products. The greater the temperature contrast, the better effects.
Building Warmth: eat warming foods, move & sweat: The cold of the season encourages us to find ways to stay warm, including the food we eat. Use seasonal ingredients to build internal warmth. Opt for a warming soup, broths, cooked veggies instead of a cooling smoothie or raw vegetables. Additionally, moving in ways that bring you joy to build internal heat and strive to break a sweat. This encourages fluid flow of blood, lymph and healthy discharges like sweat and pent-up emotions.
Steer Clear of Sugar: Excessive sugar stuns our immune system. It prevents the ability of white blood cells to seek out and destroy viruses and bacteria. Sugar is pro-inflammatory and while inflammation is a normal part of the healing process, excessive sugar during the holiday season can be an obstacle to mounting an efficient immune response.
Elderberry Syrup (Sambucol): Elderberry was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days. Elderberry has strong anti-viral properties and is beneficial in immune system activation. Elderberry extract is an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.