How can acupuncture boost my immune system?
One of the questions I’m regularly asked about the benefits of acupuncture is whether it can help to boost or improve the immune system.
It’s a question that’s particularly relevant right now as we slowly come out the other side – at least for now, but hopefully for good – of the most stringent restrictions put in place during our various periods in lockdown over the past 14 months.
We mustn’t count our chickens, of course, but with more than half the country vaccinated, the mortality rate now down to it’s lowest level for eight months (even though one death is one too many), and hospitals no longer under acute pressure there really is a sense of certainty now about life returning to something close to normal.
But whatever normal might now look like, leaving the relative safety of a life at home brings its own concerns.
Speaking to friends, family, and patients, I also know many people are still concerned about their long-term health, especially in light of the largely unknown threat posed by the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19.
And after what has been an uncertain and traumatic year, when most of us have been trying to keep ourselves safe from the risk of infection, it’s totally understandable that people are entering this new phase of life with a sense of trepidation.
But while it’s always good to be safe, life is short, and we need to make sure we take all the opportunities we get to enjoy it – so we need to find a balance between being careful and being carefree.
Our greatest defence against ill-health is our own natural immune system – the various white and red cells that act like an internal army to repel or fight the bacteria, viruses and rogue cells that cause infection and disease.
Some of the ways we might do that are fairly well-known, of course – eating well, taking exercise, and getting fresh air and sunlight all help to build up the vitamins that contribute to a healthy immune system.
But while these and other positive changes in the lifestyle choices we make will have a exponentially positive impact on the health of our natural defences, the immune system can always do with a helping hand – and acupuncture is a great way of achieving longer lasting benefits.
What is acupuncture, and how does it boost the immune system?
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that uses superfine needles, inserted painlessly and strategically into the skin at what are known as acupuncture points of the body.
These needles stimulate the natural healing energy we all have – called Qi (and pronounced chee).
In terms of boosting the immune system, this amazing energy force increases the number of red, white and T-cells (which are immune-specific cells) produced within the body, enhances the immunity of those cells to immune-resistant illnesses, and encourages the production of those healthy cells in greater numbers.
How effective is acupuncture in doing all that?
The simple answer is that it’s very effective. When you’re feeling ill or under the weather, you may go to see your GP (or, more likely these days, have a phone or video consultation with them) and if appropriate you’ll be prescribed medication to help you recover.
In many cases, the treatment you receive is designed to relieve symptoms rather than resolve the root cause of the issue, and it’s here that acupuncture comes into its own.
Acupuncture naturally works on improving your immune system by triggering the body’s production of natural proteins, molecules and compounds, which has the cumulative effect of building and boosting your in-built immune response .
And of course, the additional benefit of acupuncture – aside from the specific benefit it can have in increasing natural resilience – is that it is also an holistic therapy that can tackle underlying health issues you may not even be aware you have.
So, is acupuncture a one-stop cure all for anything that’s wrong with me?
Acupuncture is effective in treating many different conditions – from musculoskeletal problems, to women’s health issues, migraines, sleep issues (watch out for my next blog which deals with how acupuncture can improve sleep), fertility, and more besides.
As I’ve already mentioned, because it’s a holistic treatment, acupuncture is effective at treating different conditions or issues at the same time.
But it’s not usually a one-stop shop. The majority of patients will report a significant improvement in their wellness after a single session of acupuncture, but in most cases, you will need a few more follow-up sessions (and maybe more if the condition is chronic) to see real progress.
Many of my patients receive acupuncture sessions on a regular basis to ensure their health and the immune system that protects it are in the best shape possible.
If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture can form part of your health strategy to build immunity and protect yourself from illness, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.