Winter Colds and Flu: Natural ways to keep them at bay

With no easy transition from fall to winter here in the Portland area, many are experiencing decreased immunity due, in part, to the sudden shift in temperatures. The change in weather signals shifts in your body to accommodate to the colder air, shorter days and general the lack of light.


To keep your those seasonal fiends (otherwise known as cold and flu) at bay, try these natural tips for boosting your immunity and supporting your body in it’s quest to keep you warm, safe and protected.
Vitamin D
Already low for those of us living in the Pacific Northwest, vitamin D levels drop  even lower in the darker months and affect not only our level of energy, but also our moods. More and more research is showing that low levels of Vitamin D can affect you in ways we never knew in the past.  As always, massage helps move fluids and blood through your system, so it assists in distributing the supplements, and it also helps with the pain and lethargy associated with a deficiency of this vitamin.
Ceramic neti pot; neti pots can also be made f...
Image via Wikipedia
Neti Pot
Some very simple home remedies can help maintain your health, such as using a Neti Pot daily, especially during cold and flu season, to clean your sinuses and remove bacteria that can collect and become infected.

Though you do not have to use saline solution (room temperature water does the same thing) a saline solution can be especially good if you have an infection or the beginnings of one. It can also take the sting our of doing a Neti when you pour the water through. If you do use a saline solution, usually approximately 1/4 tsp of non-iodized, kosher, sea salt or special “neti-wash” salt added to room temperature, preferably distilled, water will do the trick. You can play with adjusting the salt levels until you no longer feel the “sting”.

Vitamin C
Increasing your intake of vitamin C has widely been proven to help boost the immune system. Since vitamin C affects the function of many other systems of the body, it can create digestive issues if taken in excess. It’s important to keep this  vitamin at good levels within the body. This varies from person to person but a good indicator that you’ve reached your maximum are loose bowel movements after supplementation. If you reach this level, you should decrease the amount you are taking until this reactions subsides.
Echinacea, Goldenseal, Garlic and Elderflower/Elderberry Supplementation
These herbs and flowers have been shown to boost immunity and help prevent cold or flu. Echinacea works best when used as a prevention, or in the first few days of a respiratory cold or flu.

Elderflower or Elderberry (Sambucus) boosts the production of cytokines, a unique protein that aids regulating immune response, helping the body to defend against disease. Research shows that Elderberry may even be a more powerful antioxidant that Vitamins C or E. This can be used throughout the cold and flu season as prevention and treatment.

Goldenseal is often used in conjunction with echinacea in supplements intended for the treatment of upper respiratory infections. It is a powerful and popular herb that stimulates the secretion and flow of bile and can be used as an expectorant as well.

Garlic is truly a wonder. It is antiviral, antibacterial, analgesic and even has some anesthetizing properties, all of which make it ideal for prevention and treatment of colds and flu. Added benefits — Garlic helps stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and is great for treating coughs.

The thymus glad enjoying some vitamin D infusion from the sun’s healing rays

The Thymus Gland

This gland is responsible for the number of T-lymphocyte (or T-cell) population in the body, which are critical cells to adaptive immune system. Recent advances in immunology are now allowing us to more fully understand the function of the thymus in T-cell maturation. But you don’t need to be a immunologist to make your thymus work for you. You can stimulate the thymus by gently tapping on your sternum (the thymus is located directly beneath it) stimulating the thymus and helping in production of T-cells used to fight dis-ease.

We can stimulate the thymus during massage as well as increase your circulation, relaxation and overall immunity. Come see us today and make this winter your best yet!

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