By Cassie Lowe-Yee, L.A.c. MSAOM

Our immune system is the first line of defense against disease-causing agents such as viruses and bacteria. The immune system consists of the skin, mucous membranes on your eyes, nose, mouth, respiratory tract, digestive tract, and urinary tract. In Chinese Medicine, this defensive system is named Wei Qi or Defensive Energy. The main organ generating this energy is the Lung, which covers the skin, sinuses, nose, bronchioles, and lungs. The mucous is the fluid that is produced by the Spleen or digestive system.

Currently, we are dealing with a very contagious virus, passed by respiratory droplets transmitting from person to person and attacking the lungs. The symptoms are fever or chills, shortness of breath, coughing, or sneezing.  

There is no cure or antiviral medicine specific to this type of virus, Coronavirus, or COVID 19. The vaccine is still 12-18 months away. It is contagious that the number of people tested positive is rising in the thousand worldwide. Many positive cases have mild symptoms, which means that we need to build our defense against this virus. Let us remind ourselves to fortify our immune system so that we can reduce damage to our lungs and other systems.

We can boost our immune system with a few simple steps with Chinese Medicine twist:

Step 1: Getting enough rest, sleeping 7-8 hours a night. If you wake up rested in the morning, you had a restored sleep. If you wake up tired after sleeping 7-8 hours, you may need help to evaluate and treat with herbal supplementation.

Step 2: Eat well and has a regular bowel movement. You should be eating hot, cooked food that is colorful and varied. I believe in healing with food. Foods that booster your immune systems are mushrooms, citrus fruit, onions, garlic, eggs, ginger, honey, spinach, fermented foods like kimchee, yogurt, or miso. Most bacteria and viruses are killed by heat, so having food that is hot and warm first will reduce the chances of contracting foodborne illnesses. Try to avoid sugar and alcohol as both lowers your immune system.

Step 3: Exercise regularly, this is the best way to help move your energy throughout the body. If energy moves, then blood will move. Within blood are the white blood cells that scan your body and kill the pathogens.

Step 4: Keep calm and lowers stress by maintaining social contact and practice mindfulness daily.  Tai Chi or Qi Gong breathing exercise is recommended. Connect with your spirituality can also be helpful.

Continue to take precautionary steps for keeping yourself healthy by doing the following activities: social distancing from people you do not live with, clean and disinfect surfaces daily, and take essential trips to the store and pharmacy. These activities not only help you but help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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