A person’s vital life force, known as Qi (pronounced “chi”), is the flow of energy that sustains all life forms, both internally in the body and externally in a person’s environment. There is a need to maintain harmony with one's environment, because if the immune system is weak, and this harmony is upset, illnesses may arise.
Here’s how you can strengthen your immune system naturally, and protect yourself from common illnesses such as the cold, coughs and sore throats.
1. Get Enough Rest
A proper work-rest balance is crucial for your body to recharge and maintain internal harmony. Work and rest according to your meridian clock to keep your body function at its optimum. As a rule of thumb, TCM believes that the ideal time to sleep in accordance to the meridian clock is from 11pm to 5am. Adjust your sleeping habits to ensure you get the rest you need.
If you’ve been feeling stressed, it’s time to take a breather and understand the source of your stress. Exercise and acupuncture can help to relieve stress, as they release endorphins which have a deep relaxing effect on your body. Taking Chinese herbs such as American Ginseng (Huaqishen, 花旗参), Ganoderma Mushroom (Lingzhi, 灵芝) and Lily Bulb (Baihe, 百合), Poria (Fuling, 茯苓)can also be calming.
3. Eat Well
Eating too much greasy, sweet, chilled or raw foods may lead to stagnation of Qi, or your energy flow. This stagnation will in turn cause discomforts, pain or more severe imbalance in your body. Eat well and healthily by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, and drinking small amounts of warm water during meals. A good digestive system can help keep common illnesses at bay.
Moderate regular exercise helps in the smooth flow of Qi and blood. Workouts such as Taichi are believed to help in generating, storing and reinforcing Qi in your body. If you have a favourite sport, continue working out regularly, and try to exercise with a friend or in a group to make it more enjoyable.
5. Fortify your immune system
TCM believes that when the protective Qi is at equilibrium, your body’s natural resistance against diseases and healing ability are at their equilibrium. Remove the excess and replenish the deficiency to maintain balance internally between your Yin and Yang.