The cold weather has arrived and with parts of the country already covered in blankets of snow, we have much to look forward to: colds, flus, infections, and who knows what else! Sometimes it’s inevitable and we fall ill for a few days, maybe even weeks!
It doesn’t take much to keep our body’s defenses strong, and we don’t have to rely on chemicals and medications to keep our body safe from infection. Begin these three practices now as a preventative measure to support your immune system.
Flush It Out
Nasal irrigation, also known as sinus rinsing, is a cleansing technique where salty water is used to flush out the nasal cavity. It helps by clearing mucus out of the nasal passage so the cilia, part of the filtration system in our nose, can push trapped dirt, bacteria, and allergens out of our nose (we may sneeze or blow our nose) or down our throat and into our stomach (where it is destroyed by our stomach acid). It may sound gross at first, but performing this daily flushes away toxins and helps keep colds and flus away.
Try using a saline nose spray or get to know the infamous neti pot, a teapot-like tool used to perform a nose flush. A neti pot is simple to use and many have praised this tool for relieving sinus congestion, nasal discomfort, and even ease the symptoms of allergies.
Pick up a neti pot or nasal irrigation kit at a health food store or pharmacy. Use only distilled water or boil tap water and let it cool before mixing your saline solution. Always clean your neti pot with an antibacterial soap and never share this personal hygiene item – it’s the toothbrush of your nose!
An Essential Boost for Your Immune System
One sure-fire way to boost your body’s defense is with essential oils, nature’s antibacterial and antiviral remedy. You can apply oils topically or take them as you would a supplement. Be sure to verify the oils you ingest are organic, therapeutic and food grade. Ingesting synthetic oils can do more harm than good.
Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil
One of the greatest oils out there, Melaleuca boasts antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, and antiviral properties. It is known to stimulate the immune system and also aid in the regeneration of damaged tissue. Use a few drops of this oil mixed with water as a mouthwash to kill bacteria, or apply 1-3 drops to the bottom of your feet.
This oil has gained popularity as an antibacterial and antiviral kingpin and is often used to treat and prevent illness. This oil repeats itself when taken internally, so don’t be surprised if you burp and are reminded of spaghetti sauce. Add a few drops to a shot glass of water and swig daily. Oregano oil is classified as a “hot” oil; avoid contact with skin and eyes.
Not only does lemon oil carry antiseptic and antifungal properties, it also helps the lymphatic system be more efficient in lymph cleansing. Lemon oil can also elevate your mood, and research shows good mood equals good health. Apply 1-3 drops to the bottoms of your feet or behind your ears, or mix with water and drink.
Immune Boosting Trifecta
If you find yourself knocked down by a virus, try this remedy for a quick boost:
- 3-5 drops Melaleuca
- 3-5 drops Oregano
- 3-5 drops Lemon
Mix oils in a shot glass with water and take at regular intervals during the day.
Strike a Pose!
Our body’s self-cleaning process is known as the lymphatic system and circulates lymph, a clear fluid carrying white blood cells to attack bacteria. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to move this fluid along – this is where yoga helps!
The following yoga poses will impede the movement of lymph and increase our body temperature, prompting our body to sweat. Sweating daily cleans our body of unhealthy bacterium. Remember to always maintain deep breathing through postures and avoid all painful sensations.
This movement of the spine helps to open the chest and clear congestion from the lungs. Flowing between these poses also stimulates the lymph nodes around the shoulders and hips, and along the front of the chest.
Downward Facing Dog
Considered an inversion, this pose tones the circulatory system by reversing blood flow. This facilitates the release of toxins and unwanted energy, and provides the brain with fresh, oxygenated blood that will help elevate our mood.
Any Spinal Twist Position
Spinal twists stimulate the digestive system by compressing internal organs and cutting off the blood supply to these organs. Once we untwist, fresh blood floods the organs, forcing out any bacteria. Consider a twisted lunge or twisted chair pose to build heat and massage organs.