Cold and flu season is around the corner, but Dr. Richard Schwartz, a Horsham based Pediatric Chiropractor, believes that doesn’t mean you have to become a victim and he has a 7-Pillar Strategy for Natural Health During Cold and Flu Season. Because government organizations like the Center for Disease Control advice that everyone from 6-months to 100 years old be given the annual flu vaccines, most people think that the flu vaccine is the best way to avoid getting the flu. Dr. Schwartz, who has been practicing for over 12 years, advises that you inform yourself of the risks of the flu vaccine and then make a decision based on that information; the Institute of Medicine (IOM) now admits: “Vaccines are not free from side effects or “adverse effects.”
The good news is that you can be proactive with your health and immunity! If you follow Dr. Christine Anderson’s seven pillars of health outlined below, then you will have taken great steps to insure that you and your family’s immune system stays strong not only during cold and flu season, but always!
1. Proper Rest/Sleep: Minimum 7 hours per night for adults and 10-12 hours for children. Getting to bed before midnight is more restful and rejuvenating. Sleep in a completely dark room to fully activate the pineal gland, an area of the brain that regulates our body’s natural cycles. Exercise daily, but not in the evening as the activity can cause you to revive! Remove electronics from the bedroom and cease your computer usage at least an hour before wanting to retire. Some herbs to help relax and calm are chamomile, skullcap, valerian, and passiflora. Homeopathic remedies include camomila, coffea cruda, and nux vomica. 5—HTP is a metabolized form of tryptophan that is the precursor of serotonin – the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel sleepy. Chiropractic can help the balance between the sympathetic nervous system (the part that makes you go) and the parasympathetic nervous system (the part that slows you down.) Besides repair, rejuvenation, and immune building, sleep can also keep you slim by keeping cortisol (your stress hormone) levels down.
2. Hydration: Take your body weight and halve it – that is how much water you should be drinking per day in ounces. Pure water—preferably filtered of pollutants, chemicals, and heavy metals. So if you weigh 140 lbs, then you should drink 70 ounces of water minimum; this is almost 9 eight oz glasses of water per day. If you have anything dehydrating, such as tea, coffee or alcohol, then add one glass per drink. Your body is primarily composed of water and the metabolic processes need it to function and flush out waste.
3. Exercise: Everyday, at least 30 minutes. Dancing around the house counts. Running around the house after kids counts, but you probably could also do with some focused exercise for stress release! Moderate exercise stimulates the immune system, but sustained hard core exercise can cause your body to become stressed and rundown. Include cardio, strength, including core, and flexibility aspects into your workouts. Once you get past the initial 2 weeks and the soreness goes away you will find you have more energy, stamina, you sleep better, and your self esteem will get a boost, too. For all you parents out there, your children will also get a firsthand look at what it means to take care of themselves. Heck, take them along on the walk or bike ride and get out there and kick the soccer ball around! For more information on Exercise and Pregnancy and Pregnacy massage, go to visit Ambler Chiropractor Dr. Richard Schwartz .
4. Manage Stress: Most likely than not there will always be stress in your life. We actually need a little bit otherwise we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. But what will run our systems down is the chronic unrelenting stress that never ends and continually releases cortisol, which will cause our bodies to shut down and collapse! Deadline after deadline, one thing after another, and never having enough time in the day – these are the things that wreak havoc. Schedules help. Limiting time wasters such as TV, computers, email, and social networking is another. Pursue a hobby. Practice yoga or meditate. Take a bath. Exercise. Only you will know what it is that helps you to release stress and then whatever it is, do it on a regular basis.
5. Eat foods that are nourishing, and eliminate foods that are depleting: Whole, unprocessed plant-based foods are the way to ensure that you have the fuel to build your body up and keep it functioning. By consuming processed foods, such as soda, energy drinks, coffee, cakes, cookies, candy, chips, fast food, and fried foods we use up our precious resources and weaken our defenses. The immune system is shut down for 5 hours after consuming sugar! Milk, fruit juices and alcohol are all hidden sources of sugar. Green juices are a great way to start the day and will give you an energy boost you won’t believe and won’t cause you to crash later on. Nuts and seeds provide sustainable energy and fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants which help protect your body from breaking down. Once you start consuming whole foods, processed ones will lose their appeal and as your body is nourished you will naturally consume less food, so you may even lose weight with no diet and no hunger!!
6. Spinal Hygiene: Hygiene is a funny word, no? (BTW—laughter is next…) Hygiene means the science dealing with the preservation of health. And the best way to preserve the health of the spine is with regular chiropractic check ups. Chiropractic is based on the philosophy that the nervous system controls and coordinates ALL the functions in the body – including the immune system. So, if you have physical, emotional or toxic stress from accidents, day to day stress, or eating a less than perfect diet, then subluxations (spinal misalignments) can cause nerve signals to be altered so your body can not get the proper signals to function optimally. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can help the whole family survive and even thrive during cold and flu season! For more information on Spinal Health, go to http://www.mapleglenchiro.com/
7. Laughter-Meaningful relationships-Life Purpose: Laughter releases endorphins—our natural morphine and reduces stress. Love and caring causes secretory IgA to be released, which is our first line of defense in the immune system. Conversely, anger causes secretory IgA to drop. Knowing that you are making a difference to someone or something causes cortisol to lower—so volunteer or get a pet if you don’t feel that your life has purpose at this point in time. High levels of cortisol over a long period of time deplete our immune system.
If you would like to take some immune boosters to further fortify your defenses, then there are some natural remedies which can help. Gemmotherapy are the buds of plants and there are certain ones, like Briar Rose and Black Currant that can be taken preventatively and are great for kids. Taking antioxidants, such as vitamin A, C, E, and selenium can help. There is an association with immunity and vitamin D, which is actually a hormone – so it is best to have your levels checked before consuming a supplement. Getting 15 minutes a day of sun is safer than taking supplemental vitamin D, if you are in an area that has sun!
Take your omega 3’s—preferably from plant sources such as flax and algae (versus fish which have the potential for being contaminated with heavy metals and hormone disrupting chemicals). Herbs that are adaptogenic such as astralagus and ginseng may be helpful. Echinacea may be taken for 2 weeks at a time as a preventative. Other immune boosting herbs are medicinal mushrooms, olive leaf, garlic, and larch tree.
Please note that the substances listed above are for the purpose of example only. Before consuming any supplement or herb, please consult your health care practitioner. The decision about whether or not to vaccinate is a personal one and should be made with full informed consent.