The change of seasons is here – the cool and wet fall has boldly asserted itself. With these changes in the environment, our bodies will also change how they relate to the weather around us.
The skin is our largest organ – in the cold, our pores close and the blood vessels of the skin constrict to keep the heat of our blood warming our insides. As the cold air closes the pores of our skin, the tremendous work that the skin performs must be assumed by other organs. This work includes: elimination of wastes out of the sweat glands and oil ducts (sebaceous glands), temperature regulation, even transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The work that the skin WAS performing must now be assumed by other organs putting extra stress on them.
Right now, at the beginning of the transition, the most important organs effected are the kidneys and the respiratory passages – particularly the nasal passages. The kidneys and lungs must pick up the tasks of regulating fluids and releasing toxins. This is something that skin normally does on a daily basis and mostly goes unnoticed. Because of the extra stress on these organs we are seeing an increase of urinary tract and kidney infections, even drops in kidney function on blood tests, and we are of course seeing the sinus and respiratory infections that announce the seasonal change in those susceptible. For some, the symptoms are more mild – such as increased achiness of the joints, muscles, and low back as the waste products of normal muscular activity are not adequately eliminated.
PREVENTING THE COLD AND FLU NATURALLY
Now is the time to start cold and flu prevention. The first step is to exercise the blood vessels in the skin. Remember, the skin is your largest organ, and it is critically important for more than just looking good.
- Shower hydrotherapy. Real flu prevention can start in the morning shower. A German study in 1990 used a method that led to 50% decrease in colds and flu of those who participate. What’s even better, when those using this treatment did get a cold or flu their symptoms lasted half the time of those who did not use this method! The treatment is ending a normal hot shower with cold water in the following fashion: Initially the water is only cool and only lasting for a few seconds, gradually decreasing the water temperature and increasing the duration of spray – for as long as 2 minutes – over several days and weeks. End the shower with a vigorous dry towel rub. This time-tested Naturopathic method works by exercising the blood vessels in the skin and strengthening the muscles that surround the vessels, making them more dynamic and better able to adapt to weather changes and better able to distribute blood so that infections can be addressed earlier and more effectively. It is a tonifying treatment – that is to say it tones and provides strength. Start slowly if you are new; like any exercise, it is a building process.
- Avoid Your Food Intolerance. A food intolerance is a food the body lacks the ability to break down, digest, or utilize. If it does not digest it will rot and decay in the intestinal tract and be acted upon by bacteria in the intestines creating chemicals called Polyamines. These chemicals interfere with immune function and guess where most of your immune system is at – in the digestive bed! Avoiding your food intolerance allows your whole system to function more efficiently by reducing inflammation, and encouraging our innate healing capabilities to work their best. To ensure that the body is functioning at peak immunity, should it encounter a virus or bacteria, be avoiding your food intolerance to stay ahead of the game.
- Keep dry and warm. During the colder months it is best to keep our feet warm and dry and the back of your neck covered. It not only feels warm and wonderful but it helps your circulation. The blood vessels on the back of the neck are connected through reflexes with the sinus passages. If cold air strikes the back of the neck it will reduce blood flow in the sinuses. Viruses and bacteria in the sinus passages can more easily grow if there is a lack of the immune elements found in the blood. Cold shower, as described above, strengthen and improve the blood flow adaptation – notice the connection. By the way, for nose bleeds, an ice pack to the back of the neck can be a very effective treatment for these same reasons.
- Exercise. Getting your blood pumping regularly can increase the activity of your white blood cells that attacks viruses. Shoot for an hour a day, but not necessarily all at once. Even a 10 minute walk outside in the fresh air can boost your immunity and mood for up to two hours after.
- Get enough rest. While you’re off in dreamland, your body gets to work repairing cells and injuries you may have incurred during the normal day’s wear and tear. Getting your seven to nine hours a night means your body can repair and heal itself and ward off infections. Skimping on sleep is as disruptive to the immune system as stress.
- Natural medicines. Are you looking for an alternative to the flu vaccine? A study compared the flu vaccination with the natural immune support of Colostrum. Colostrum is the collection of naturally occurring immune antibodies found in milk from recently pregnant cows. Human moms make it too and it is the immune system primer and protector of newborns. The results of the head to head comparison with the flu vaccine? The cow milk Colostrum was 300% more effective than the flu vaccination. Those who were vaccinated came down with the flu 3 times more often than those who only took Colostrum! Those who did both had almost as good a result as those who only took Colostrum. The least colds, flu, and respiratory infections were in those who only took colostrum. The study was in a population of cardiac patients who were already at high risk of the complications of flu and more susceptible than most! Best of all, the protection continues for two to three months post treatment – 1 capsule daily for 6 to 8 weeks, followed by a one month break, continuing through the winter is a common prescription. If you are milk intolerant it may not be the best choice. Speak to your doctor to find out what it best for you.
- Bio-Thermal Therapy® treatments are a powerful, natural, and non-invasive way to support the body’s healing processes and immune function. A periodic tune up can keep your immune system and whole body in optimal health. If you begin to have the symptoms of a cold, flu, or any other infection, call the office right away to schedule a treatment as soon as possible. Next week we will discuss in more detail what to do to treat a cold or a flu with the most effective methods known! For now – start your prevention practices right away!