Updated: May 16, 2020
There are many simple ways to boost immunity and relieve stress! Here are just some of them. Please share what helps you too! Reminder: I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist and Ayurvedic Health Consultant studying Herbalism. Please consult your doctor if you're concerned about implementing any of the following suggestions.
--Nature. Get outside every day, rain or shine. Touch the Earth, sense the sun or rain drops on your skin, listen to the sounds of the birds, squirrels, and streams. Many studies show that nature time is necessary for our health and well being as it lowers stress levels, and therefore boosts immunity. On a chilly April night, I bundled up and sat on my porch for a while under the clear sky, listening to the peepers, wood frogs, tree frogs, woodcock, and coyote. I breathed with them all and smiled.
--Eat Well and Hydrate. People have learned to indulge in unhealthy foods and habits in times of stress and vulnerability. To build immunity, it's important to nourish with whole foods. Avoid processed synthetic ingredients and sugar--use maple syrup, raw honey, and fruits for sweets. This is a perfect time to grow your own food and support local farmers. Since humans are 70% water, hydrating with good quality water is essential to keep our bodies healthy and to release toxins. Avoid cold drinks, as they squelch digestive fire. Instead, focus on herbal teas and hot water.
--Exercise. Make time for ample exercise to strengthen your lungs and your entire body. Pranayama (breathing exercises), yoga, Qigong, hiking, walking, gardening, workouts are all excellent choices to move your body. I've particularly enjoyed integrating Monica Johnson's Qigong classes and Natasha Sidhu's version of the 5 Tibetan Rites.
--Meditate. Breathe deeply, follow your breath, watch emotions and thoughts and where they get stuck in your body so you can release them. As you become more calm and less reactive, your whole system strengthens which reverberates out into the world. I'm enjoying Dr. Steve Curtin's Bridging Heaven and Earth Meditation. The App, Calm, is also helpful for those just learning.
--Neti (nose rinse) and Nasya (nose oil). Ayruvedic ritual. To clean the nasal passages, fill a neti pot with 1/4 t pure salt and distilled or previously boiled warm water (let mixture cool to room temp before administering), and rinse each nostril. More description here. Following Neti, drip nasya oil (you can use your pinky and sesame or coconut oil too) in your nose-this relieves any dryness caused by neti rinse and re-lubricates and protects your nasal passages so that no new pathogens can attach.
--Self Massage/Abhyanga (oil love in Ayurveda). Ayurvedic Ritual. Use your favorite massage oil blend, or coconut, almond, or sesame oil to massage your whole body, long strokes on your limbs, and circular around your joints. Take your time with warm oil, and appreciate yourself! Your body works hard to support and nourish you. After massage, wipe your feet on a towel so you don't slip, and take a bath or shower. The hot water helps the oil really sink into your skin. No need to soap it off, just rinse and pat dry. Self massage helps release toxins and gives your skin a protective nourishing layer. I always feel like a seal after Abhyanga.
--Gratitude. Appreciate and say thank you to the things that fill you with joy. Look for them throughout the day, and revisit them by writing them down at the end of the day, thanking again.
--Herbs and Supplements. There are so many beautiful plants and whole foods that help boost immunity. Some specific herbal allies to call upon for COVID-19 prevention and symptoms are: Elderberry (I love this Elderberry syrup recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs), Echinacea, Pine, Slippery Elm, Usnea lichen, Garlic, Mullein, Tulsi, and mushrooms like Reishi (I love this immunity mushroom blend from North Spore). To purchase other magical herbals and learn more about their actions, I recommend contacting Suzanne Stone of Moon of Hyldemoer Herbals or Jennifer May of Sage Moon Apothecary. Some supplements to call upon for COVID-19 prevention and symptoms include Vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid or in food like oranges & rose hips & pine) and Zinc, (in the form of acetate or in food like seeds, nuts, legumes). Iodine has also been shown to help relieve symptoms of this virus, study here.
--Grounding. As mentioned in my last blog post, Earthing, or touching your bare skin to the Earth's skin, neutralizes the electrical potential in our bodies, lowering inflammation and decreasing susceptibility to any kind of dis-ease. Walking barefoot when possible, gardening, and sleeping grounded on a grounding mat or sheet are all great ways to Earth. To purchase an Earthing product and support me please use this link.
--Laugh and Limit News/Screen time. Being informed is important, but too much news and screen time increase anxiety and stagnation. Instead, listen to a funny show, play silly games, do laughter yoga, dance, wiggle, shake, and smile!
-- Distance Ayurvedic Health Consults and Distance Energy Healing. I am still offering these sessions by phone or video, pay-what-you-can. They help you get into your body and release anxiety.