Your immune system is mysterious
Western medicine understands many of the bits of good immunity, but not how they all fit together. It is known that we have a certain amount of immunity when born; that we build our immunity throughout life and some of us do that better than others. And that immune cells are produced in many parts of the body including bone marrow, lymph nodes, tonsils and, interestingly, the spleen.
Different studies have connected stronger immunity to quality sleep; gut health, a nutrient rich diet, exercise and managing stress. And on the other side of the coin, connected poor immunity to chronic inflammation, obesity, diets high in processed foods and sugar, and long-term stress (promotes inflammation). So they know there’s a connection between immunity and lifestyle but they are not sure what to do with this, as it can’t be scientifically proven.
Enter Chinese medicine, the masters of the art of living, and a modality that knows how all the puzzle pieces go together, because they’ve been working on it for several thousand years. In Chinese medicine everything is connected. Our immune system is not a stand-alone operation, it is connected to all bodily systems (blood, organs, meridians) and if they function well so does our defensive chi, the force that wards off and fights invasion.
Immunity is an action, a process.
We build it by how we live and laugh and work and play, and eat, rest, move and get up and start again. Because all of these are connected to building chi and blood and keeping chi flowing along meridians to nourish our organs. These are all also things we can control, which means we can have a direct influence on how good our immunity is.
The plan is to create great immunity just by how we do everything in a normal day. The 24 hour chi cycle is my go to lifestyle guide for this. It puts everything that builds immunity into the best possible timeslot for it, which value-adds to any effort to be healthy. It makes sure all your organs function to the best of their ability. It sets the health rhythm for every 24 hours.
Here’s some key immunity building lifestyle actions in order of best time to do them:
5-7 am. Up early and exercise because this detoxes the system, frees up blockages in the meridians (chi stagnation dampens immunity) and creates chi flow for strong immunity.
7-9am. Eat a nourishing warm breakfast with wholesome grains – oats, barley, buckwheat are the top 3 for boosting immunity – somewhere before 9am. This builds blood, stimulates stomach chi and maximises bounce-back from stress and invasion (stomach chi = gut-health = immunity in Western terms).
9am-1pm. Create positive forward momentum until lunch time to stimulate the chi of spleen and heart – the vitality (immune strengthening) organs.
1-5pm. Eat a warm nourishing lunch to stimulate the chi of the small intestine to ‘fine-tune’ immunity. Work on less stressful stuff for the afternoon. This tunes you in with the natural 24 hour rhythm of health so you’re not wasting energy which weakens immunity.
5-7pm. De-stress. Switch off around 6pm with a chi practice (like yoga or tai-chi etc) or something fun and playful. This supports kidney health, and kidneys store your primary life force (Jing) – the fuel for your immunity.
7-9pm. Relax. Ditch all screens by 8pm to make sure you can wind down enough to get quality sleep at the best time to launch your soul’s return trip to ‘the source’. This is your access to some of the amazing and mystical immunity events that can happen when you sleep.
If you’re doing all or any of the above, here’s what’s happening behind the scenes:
- Receive chi
- Nutrient intake
- Develop positive outlook
- Balance (yin yang)
- Grow trust
- Be yourself
- Restore / rejuvenate
And they are the eight processes or actions that keep building blood and chi for strong immunity 24/7.