A person’s vital life force is in Chinese medicine known as Qi (pronounced “chee”). It´s the flow of energy that sustains all life forms, both internally in the body and externally in a person’s environment. When someone is healthy, in balance and harmony, in Chinese medicine we say they have good vital Qi.
Qi has many different roles in our health and body. The different roles and abilities of Qi can be divided based on their primary role. For example, each one of our organs has its own Qi. But for the body and our immune system, the most important are the Wei Qi, Ying Qi and Yuan Qi.
Wei Qi is our outer defense mechanism. It can be described as a protective blanket, and a large part of our immune system depends on a strong Wei Qi. Our defensive Qi and immune system keeps the cold, excessive heat, wind and illness away.
Ying Qi is the energy we get from nutrition. Needless to say, good nutrition is essential for a good immune system.
Yuan Qi comes from the kidneys, which activates the liquids and the essence of our blood. Yuan Qi keeps our healthy oxygenated circulation system running smoothly.
Happy people have a strong Wei Qi!
There´s a need to maintain harmony with one's Qi and environment, because if the immune system is weak, and this harmony is upset, illnesses may arise.
Here are five ways you can strengthen your immune system naturally, through the lens of Chinese medicine:
1. Fortify your immune system
Chinese medicine believes that when the protective Qi (called Wei Qi or defensive Qi) is at equilibrium, your body’s natural resistance against diseases and healing ability are at their equilibrium.
Chinese medicine offers lots of great herbs to boost your immune system. The best way to get the herbal medicine for you is to visit an acupuncturist trained in Chinese medicine, for a full diagnosis according to Chinese medicine. Although, there are some herbs I recommend for my patients to use in times of seasonal shifts, when many people are sick around you, when you travel etc. to boost your immune system. I use DAO Labs Immunity Support, which I warmly recommend. Tastes good too! You just add water.
Our Wei Qi remains strong if we exercise. A walk in fresh air is the simplest solution, this is good enough to open up our lungs and feed them with oxygen which in turn will liven up a healthy circulation and blood system. Exercise helps in the smooth flow of both Qi and blood. Yoga and Qigong are believed to help in generating, storing and reinforcing Qi in your body.
For free online yin yoga classes, meditation and Qigong/Yoga flows click here.
3. Eat Well
Eating too much greasy, sweet, chilled or raw foods can 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 warm food, and drink warm water. A good digestive system can help keep some illnesses at bay.
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. Acupuncture is know to help strengthen the immune system, and it can be done as preventative medicine. Implementing acupuncture treatments in your life when you’re healthy can help you to stay healthy in the long run. (Free online yin yoga videos to de-stress).
5. Get Enough Rest and Sleep
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, Chinese medicine 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’re curious to learn more about Chinese medicine, feel free to contact me with questions about my education programs etc.
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If you’re curious to read more about Chinese medicine and yin yoga - check my recommended books here.
All these little tips help us weave a strong Wei Qi blanket - a healthy defensive or immune system. And remember - how we eat will affect how we digest our food, not just from a nutritional perspective but also from an emotional one. Happy people have a strong Wei Qi! Difficult in these times for many people, but let’s try and help and support each other - to stay calm, connected and as happy as we possibly can, even though we might be separated from beloved ones!