use-acupuncture-to-boost-your-immune-system-this-winterYou may not want to take any chances during the winter season and, as a preventative, start boosting your immune system for a smooth, healthy ride into spring. Even if you feel fine, the stronger your constitution is the better and in a season where most spend their time indoors, acupuncture proves essential to ramp up your system.

Working with the benefits of acupuncture to increase your overall health offers you the potential to stave off a potential barrage of bacterial and viral germs often found lurking on places like handrails, countertops, doorknobs, elevator buttons, magazine pages, remote controls, and invisibly sneezed and coughed as infected air droplets you can breathe in at any time.

These scenarios are by no means meant to scare you but, on the contrary, it is a way to open your eyes when your fast moving life may sometimes dull your forcefield senses.

The Mechanism of Moving Qi

In Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM), illness is considered a stagnation of your life energy force or Qi (pronounced “chee”).

According to ‘A Guiding Principle for the Treatment of Chronic Disease in Modern Times’ by Heiner Fruehauf, using CCM is considered essential for moving critical qi throughout the body to maintain homeostasis. One example of using CCM to move qi is cited by Fruehauf through the work of the Qing Dynasty scholar physician Huang Yuanyu’s book, Sisheng xinyuan (Core Teachings by the Four Sages).

Fruehauf explains,

“…he created his favorite remedy for descending the qi of the lung and stomach, for which he was so well known at his time. This remedy has the ability to ascend the clear qi of the liver and spleen on the left, while simultaneously descending damp/phlegm turbidity. This was the remedy that he used, in modi ed form, for many of the chronic diseases he saw during his life as a Chinese medicine physician.”

Using acupuncture to enhance this process is a significant tool to seek balance and reconstitution which, in turn, could be capable of strengthening your immune system.

It is essential to remember that utilizing acupuncture to move your qi goes hand in hand with the qi of the earth which is elegantly described here in an excerpt from the The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (the Neijing Suwen) – 240 B.C.,

Yellow Emperor: ‘Is the earth underneath the Sky?’

Qibo: ‘The earth is underneath humans, but is suspended in space.’

Yellow Emperor: ‘How is it that it does not fall down?’
Qibo: ‘The Great Qi of the universe holds it suspended in space. The dry qi dries it, the heat qi steams it to maturity, the wind qi makes it move, the damp qi moistens it, the cold qi makes it firm, and the fire qi warms it. Wind and cold, therefore, are below, dry and heat are on top, damp is at the center, and fire roams in between. Thus the six qi penetrate the earth, and in this way the transformation of matter is initiated from the void.’

The Study of Acupuncture as an Immune Boosting Therapy

Ancient text could be one way to determine the validity of acupuncture but it lies mainly on the faith of observational studies. Once this practice came to America in the 1970’s western science was applied with, in mostly small studies, positive results for immune function support.

One study by researchers from the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Biological Science, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, followed participants over a period of time giving a good sense of the longevity of treatment as well as its effect on the immune system.

Published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine it was stated that,

“The results showed that the most favorable effects of acupuncture on the immune functions appear 72 hours after the single session and persist one month after the end of the complete treatment. Impaired immune functions in anxious women (chemotaxis, phagocytosis, lymphoproliferation and NK [natural killer] activity) were significantly improved by acupuncture, and augmented immune parameters (superoxide anion levels and lymphoproliferation of the patient subgroup whose values had been too high) were significantly diminished. Acupuncture brought the above mentioned parameters to values closer to those of healthy controls, exerting a modulatory effect on the immune system.”

Anti-Cancer Immune Function

When it comes to cancer, scientists will try just about anything to get ahead of this disease that continues its debilitating and merciless march. The combined review ‘Acupuncture May Stimulate Anticancer Immunity via Activation of Natural Killer Cells’ by researchers from the University of California and the University of Pittsburgh, concluded,

“… acupuncture enhances the ability of the immune system to more actively eliminate malignant cells by increasing the ability of NK [natural killer] cells to kill cancer cells. More precisely, the hypothesis trumpets that acupuncture stimulation increases the cytotoxicity of NK cells by promoting cross talk between the neurotransmitter network and immune system that is [1] orchestrated by nitric oxide, -endorphin and cytokines and [2] anchored by opioid and NK cell receptors. We intend the “acupuncture immuno-enhancement hypothesis” to provide a focal point for future communication and research about the potential of acupuncture to enhance anticancer immune functions.”

Stopping Sepsis

When infection spreads out of control and cannot be contained it is called sepsis. According to Scientific American, each year sepsis kills approximately a quarter of a million people in the US alone, accounting for about 9% of overall deaths.

Published in Nature Medicine (2014),

“Researchers at Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School reported [] that stimulating [acupuncture point stomach 36] ST36 with an electric current passed through an acupuncture needle activated two nerve tracts in mice that led to the production of a biochemical that quieted a sepsis-like inflammatory reaction induced in mice.”

With observational studies over thousands of years along with current medical research results, acupuncture has certainly shown great benefits in stimulating the immune system. Keep your system running at full speed this winter and beyond with a regiment of acupuncture sessions to boost you to an optimal health level. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of Insurance Companies that commonly carry acupuncture benefits for its members. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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