The flu is here. If you haven’t already succumbed to it, you likely know someone who has. If you’re like me, you’re doing any and everything to prevent it.
Even when the flu vaccine is at optimal effectiveness, most healthcare providers agree that it’s the simple things that can keep your immune system strong - adequate sleep, eating a good diet that’s low in sugar, and washing hands.
In addition to these practices, I also recommend my patients get regular acupuncture during the flu season. Why? It’s simple.
- Acupuncture helps us adapt to stress. Why is this important? Studies show that chronic stress can lower immune function. While we can’t always avoid all stress, we can support our body’s ability to adapt to it. Acupuncture helps this by forcing us to take a time-out and get out of our heads, and into our bodies. Studies show acupuncture helps decreased cortisol levels in stressed humans. Most people find sessions relaxing and rejuvenating, which helps with point #2:
- Acupuncture boosts immune function. A growing amount of research is demonstrating how acupuncture can benefit the immune system, including raising Secretory IgA levels. This, in turn, offers us more protection against microbes that have an affinity for respiratory and digestive mucosa.
- Acupuncture helps us sleep. This is vital to healthy immune function and stress management. Better sleep means more robust immune function to prevent the flu, and quicker recovery if and when the flu strikes.
If you’ve already suffered through the flu this season, keep in mind the best way to support our health is to support it during the off-season. With this in mind, consider acupuncture as an ongoing tool for your health all year long!