As we prepare for the coming winter season down here in the southern hemisphere, I have started to notice a lot of immune system issues arising in my clinic, like colds, flu’s, hay fever, sinusitis and allergies. In my view I can see how a lot of these health issues that arise at this time of the year are one of the ways the body tries to get rid of the old to make way for the new-by having a good old fashion clean out!
So I’m in big favour of supporting the innate healing wisdom of the body system during this process, as it is an expert on how to keep itself in-balance and in-check especially when the change of seasons come about.
For this reason I like to encourage my clients to surrender and trust in the process of the cold or flu, rather than succumbing to the fear of getting seriously ill, as fear can even compound the severity of the cold or flu and lengthen the time of healing needed to get well again. The surrender is an important part of every healing cycle and we need to remember that the body needs- more than anything- to stop, take some time out and allow for the rebuild and repair process, which is often most effectively done in bed! This may even mean taking a couple of days off work, which of course can be very inconvenient at times, but often is an essential way of speeding up the healing process.
Isn’t it interesting that it is usually when we are at our most busiest or stressed that we often get sick? This is a wonderful cue from our body systems telling us to slow things down a bit and get into the rhythm of our body’s needs.
One of the other most effective ways of letting your body know that you are willing to surrender and allow the healing process to take place (aside from creating the right environment for your body to do this) is by using an old friend –Your Breath!
Now I say an old friend, because your breath never leaves you, whether you are awake or asleep, it is always with you and there to help out anytime you need! We just have to remember how to utilize it to our benefit, and this takes practice
Most of us are shallow breathing our way through life, which means we are only really breathing into our chest area. To access the parasympathetic nervous system (which is your relaxed nervous system and the one most beneficial for healing) you need to be taking a deep breath all the way down into the bottom part of your lungs and let your lower abdomen gentle rise first and then your chest, all with the same breath.
Give it a go now, deep breath all the way into the bottom part of your lungs, letting your abdomen area fill up with air first then gently move the breath up into the chest area while you continue to breath in. Make sure you are taking nice slow deep breaths and that you are also exhaling slowly and gently as well. Continue this style of breathing for the next 5 minutes for the most benefits.
Some of you may be feeling a bit dizzy after a couple of these deeper breaths- if so don’t panic! It’s just that your body isn’t use to getting all of that extra oxygen! The dizziness will diminish with practice, but in the meantime make sure you take your time and only do as many breaths as feels right for you. If you do get dizzy just stop the beep breathing, sit down and hang your head between your legs until the dizziness disappears.
If you are experiencing a lowered immune function with reoccurring colds or flu’s or an over active immune system with hay fever, sinusitis and allergies on a regular basis, then having a diet overhaul is an easy, quick and essential way to assist in the natural healing process of the body. Reducing some of the top allergenic food culprits like gluten, dairy and processed, refined foods that are high in sugar is a great place to start. These foods have been shown to interfere with the immune systems ability to be able to self regulate and therefore perform at an optimal level, leaving you with lots of unpleasant signs and symptoms of immune imbalance to have to deal with.
Other nutrients which can help to support the healing process of immune imbalances like colds and flu’s include vitamin C, vitamin D, probiotics and herbs such as Echinacea, Garlic and Andrographis as well as Olive leaf and Elderberry. Some of these herbs can act as natural antibiotics and are therefore very powerful to your body system. For this reason it is very important to check-in with your health care practitioner before you self-administer these herbs to make sure they are safe for your individual needs and circumstances before you start to take them.
Wishing you all a peaceful, restful and healthy transition into the change of seasons this coming Winter!
With Love and Good Health