Based on the 2,500 heritage of Chinese medicine and practiced by acupuncturists and Chinese medicine doctors worldwide, here are 5 simple ways to boost your defensive Qi:
1. Apply Acupressure Below the Knee
Acupressure is like acupuncture, in that you’re placing “pressure” on a certain point to elicit a response within your body (like with acupuncture, you are stimulating internal energy within your body. And a note to the reader: acupuncture does not hurt!). To boost immunity, you’ll want to place pressure along “acupuncture point 36”, which is described as 4 finger widths below the kneecap and about roughly one finger width lateral to the edge of the tibia (see the diagram below). Many might find tenderness in the area when pressure is applied and the area massaged. It’s one of the most widely used points in acupuncture, and helps boost immunity.
We recommend applying acupressure around this point both when you might feel something coming on, as well as preventatively when people around you are showing signs that they aren’t feeling well. Gently press and hold, several times a day.
2. Cover Your Neck to Avoid “Evil Qi”
Acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners number 1 travel accessory? A scarf. In Chinese medicine theory, there are two predominant kinds of “Evil Qi,” or pathogens that enter our system - warm pathogens and cold pathogens. Cold pathogens enter the body through the nape of the neck. Therefore, it is particularly important that you keep your neck covered when outside in cold, damp, or windy weather, or if you sit in a drafty area at work or home - or even if you are in air conditioning. The solution: keep a scarf handy and wear it liberally, keeping the Evil Qi at bay.
3. Boost Your Immunity Through Yu Ping Feng San
Chinese herbs are an important component of most acupuncturists tool kits, and they are used widely throughout the world. The herbal combination of Yu Ping Feng San is three simple herbs that are blended together - but don’t let the simplicity belay the formula’s power. This 700 year old formula is used widely for providing preventive immunity support, along with when quick action is needed for those moments when you feel something coming on. Among the three herbs is astragalus root which is used extensively for it’s preventative immunity boosting powers. Simplistically, the name translates to “Jade Windscreen”, as the powerful blend is through to create a protective screen around your body, powerful and precious as jade.
Yu Ping Feng San was used by the Chinese health authorities during the 2003 SARS outbreak across China, so just imagine what it can do to boost immunity. DAO Labs offers a version of this tried and tested formula, but combined it with a refreshing pear-ginger flavor combination that you add to your water bottle much like you would other vitamin-C powders. It’s kept the writers of the document, along with hundreds of customers healthy over the course of three flu seasons. Check out Immunity Support here.
4. Embrace Chinese Dietary Therapy - Keep the Right Ingredients On-Hand
In Chinese medicine theory your immune system is called your “Wei Qi”, and it needs to be supplied with clean air, water, exercise and nutritious food to ensure that external forces do not cause illness or impair the body’s ability to heal itself. “Exterior conditions” on the surface of the body such as colds and flus are most prevalent as skin and mucous membranes are exposed directly to the environment. The sooner one notices these conditions and takes action, the more likely their interior progress can be reversed.
Suggestions for treating exterior conditions are to eat less and use a more simple liquid based diet. Vegetable soups and soups that are whole-grain based (quinoa or wild rice, for example) provide nutrients that are easier to digest without being too filling or heavy. Warming herbs can be added if chills predominate over the fever. If the fever predominates, fruit or vegetable juices or fresh fruits are a better alternative. Chinese medicine seeks to treat the whole person rather than just the symptom to support and strengthen your body and your Qi.
We talk extensively about Chinese dietary therapy, a “food as medicine” approach to our wellness through the power of Chinese medicine on our blog, where we offer extensive recipes and dietary recommendations (such as our Middle Burner Diet by DAO Labs that will transform your digestive health), all of which incorporate western ingredients with Chinese medicine theory.
Some ingredients to keep on hand:
- Quinoa: Strengthens one’s Qi
- Garlic: Promotes Qi circulation and removes toxins
- Chicken Stock: Tonifies Qi
- Roasted Red Peppers: Counteracts cold
- Shiitake: Strengthens Qi
- Leeks: Promotes Qi circulation, counteracts cold
- Dijon Mustard: Promotes Qi circulation
- Red Wine Vinegar: Promotes Qi circulation, counteracts cold and removes toxins
5. Don't Forget Sleep - the Original Immunity Booster
It is estimated that healthy adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep per night to function at optimal health. Clinical studies have shown that lack of sleep makes you more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, increases the likelihood of the sickness lasting for a longer period of time, and also changes your body’s immune response on a cellular and chemical level.
If you struggle with staying asleep, Chinese herbal medicine provides a gentle, natural, and non-habit forming solution. DAO Labs Mental Tranquility was designed for the sleeper whose mind won’t turn off at 2 AM, and Physical Tranquility was designed for those who sleep hot, toss and turn, and are agitated under the sheets.
Simple enough, right? Actually, they truly are, and from experience, the above really do work when it comes to supporting immunity, much like many of the options available in Chinese medicine. For more insight into any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. We always encourage you to work with an acupuncturist for additional insights and solutions that may be more tailored to your health and wellness goals. The practice is beautiful and powerful, and can help elevate one’s wellness beyond just the immunity recommendations above.