The sun is up early, and it stays out late. Follow it’s lead for a strong immune system.
A Different View of Immunity
In Chinese medicine, we think of immunity as the body’s ability to be flexible to environmental change. Whether that change is the weather or the presence of virus, Asian medicine will always classify it as a type of qi. The different types of qi are:
When a person “catches” a cold or flu, it is because their body’s ability to adapt to its environment has failed. The enviromental qi has overpowered the body’s qi. What this email is about today, are the different ways we can keep our own qi strong, so when it comes in contact with the multitudes of qi in the environment, it has it’s best chance of staying flexible, not become overpowered, and not get sick.
Yang, (heat), is our most precious resource. It is what keeps our body temperature up, our fluids from pooling and stagnating, our blood moving, and our immune systems ability to protect us. Every action we take requires this yang, and so we need to replenish it when we can. Summer is the time to do this.
Let the Sun on Your Whole Body
Ideally, you would expose your whole body to the sun everyday. We are like a giant plant, and our skin absorbs the sun’s rays into our bloodstream like chlorophyll. This is the greatest yang in our universe, and getting in into our systems is one way we replenish the yang inside of us. According to Chinese medicine theory, it’s not a coincidence that we are more susceptible colds and flus in the winter. It is because the yang of the sun is not as strong of a force in our environment, and not supplementing our own yang for immune protection.
Now, yes. This does seem strange to talk about as COVID is raging during the middle of the summer, but remember this all started in the colder months. To maintain our health, we need to safely get our bodies into the sun for a small amount of time each day, while it is strong and abundant, to fortify us for when the cold returns.
Eat the Sun
All the seasonal fruits and vegetables are bursting with the yang energy of sun right now. And here in the Bay Area we have such a bounty of local produce at our fingertips. Eat as many colors as you can each day. But eat them lightly steamed/cooked if you tend towards looser stools and low energy.
Our gut health is very important to the strength of our immune systems. Probiotics are a very important part of our diets to keep our digestive system functioning, and they are also a major lack in may modern diets. Easy ways to incorporate probiotics into our days are:
- Homemade lacto-ferments
- making sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee, using just a little sea salt and water it a great way to get an abundance of probiotics into your diet.
- fining raw and unpasteurized versions is important to have the live healthy bacteria in there.
- this is a sweet fermented rice product that is the basis for sake, and known as an “energy drink” in Japan.
- Traditional Slavic fermented beverage made out of stale bread
Using the strength of the season is the best way to keep yourself and your immune system health, and able to face all the challenges we are facing right now.