Fall is here. That means pumpkin spice, colored leaves, shorter days, and sniffles, coughs, and colds. All that wind and cold we see in the weather outside might be wreaking havoc inside you as well! According to Chinese medicine, “wind” and “cold” are two pathogenic forces that can contribute to illness when allowed to enter the body. In addition, we are often indoors in close proximity to other disease-carrying humans during the fall and winter. It’s important to take steps to strengthen your body’s immune system as well as eliminate as many risk factors as possible during this time of year. That way you can actually enjoy the family gatherings, good food, and crisp weather!
Wash Your Hands: You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again, washing your hands is the single best way to prevent the spread of disease. Even if you’re in the habit of regular hand washing you might not know that it takes a full 20 seconds of rubbing with soap and water to remove all the pathogens from the entire surface of your hands. It feels like a long time when you’re standing at the sink, but a few extra seconds could save you days of misery! Add a few drops of OnGuard to your liquid soap for added cleansing. If you’re not able to get to a sink, doTerra now has a convenient all-natural hand sanitizing spray with OnGuard oil, alcohol, and moisturizing apple extract that kills 99% of pathogens.
Don’t Smoke: Unless you just woke up from a five-decade nap, you know that smoking is bad for you. Specifically, nicotine suppresses the immune system and smoke of any kind can cause inflammation and irritation of the bronchial tubes. Especially if you’ve been exposed to illnesses or have other risk factors, avoid inhaling toxins!
Sleep and Rest: Get plenty of rest! Even minor sleep deprivation can put strain on your body, making you more susceptible to illness. Stress does the same, so spend some time during your waking hours resting, meditating, or doing a relaxing activity that you enjoy. You can also diffuse essential oils to help you sleep and balance your mood throughout the day.
Wear a Scarf: In Chinese medicine, wind entering the body through the back of the neck is a common way people get sick. Protect your “wind pool” (GV20) by wearing a scarf or turtle neck when outside. You should also avoid putting cold or penetrating oils such as peppermint and wintergreen on the back of your neck if you’re going outside, and instead use warm and protecting oils such as the Protective Blend (OnGuard) or arborvitae.
Take Your Vitamins: One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to give your body all the nutrients, minerals, and energy it needs to stay healthy. I take the Lifelong Vitality Pack supplements from doTerra every day! These supplements are special because the nutrients are delivered in a form and amount that your body can actually process and use, unlike most supplements that go straight through you and provide little benefit. Ecinacea is a good herbal supplement to add this time of year as well, whether in a tincture, capsule, or tea.
Be Good to Your Gut: The digestive system contains 70% of our immune cells and is extremely important to overall health. Taking a daily probiotic supplement (such as PB Assist from doTerra) and eating yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and other fermented foods will keep your microbiome in good shape all winter, helping you fend off colds and those heavy holiday meals.
Essential Oil Immune Boosters: doTerra’s Protective Blend (OnGuard) has amazing benefits not only to eliminate environmental threats, but also to support your body’s natural defenses. There are a number of products made with this powerful blend of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary for use around the home, on your body, and even internally. Diffusing this blend will help purify the air if someone in your home is sick. You can make up a dilution in a roller bottle to apply to the feet, back of neck, and acupoints. I also like to take 1-3 gelcaps of OnGuard+ for a few days if I know I’ve been exposed or I feel like something is coming on. Other oils to use include cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, black pepper, thyme, arborvitae, lemon, frankincense, and the Cellular Complex (DDR Prime).
Acupoints for Immune Support: There are many acupoints you can stimulate to improve immune function, I have only listed a few here. You can use firm pressure, gentle rubbing, or a drop of essential oil with light pressure and intention to activate these points.
LI4 - Converging Valley - located on the back of hand between the thumb and finger, where the muscle is highest when they are pressed together. Overall tonic point for the body and immune system, also good for headaches and constipation. Oils: melaluca, frankincense.
LU7 - Broken Sequence - to locate this point, lock your hands together at the thumbs and find the point where your pointer finger lands on the top of the wrist bone. Good for immunity and the lungs. Oils: eucalyptus, rosemary.
LI11 - Curve Pool - located on the outside end of the elbow crease when arm is bent. Good for the immune system, fever, and elimination. Oils: rosemary, lemon, lavender.
ST36 - Three Leg Measure - located 4 fingers below the bottom of kneecap, on the outside of the shin bone. Overall tonic point, especially for digestion, energy, and immunity. Oils: ginger, rosemary, black pepper, melaluca.
You can also try this acupressure routine to stimulate several more points with self-massage. Share what keeps you healthy in the comments!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been verified by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any illness.