Following the news that the Coronavirus has gone global and with the mixed messages as to how to react, whether to take it seriously or not so, I decided I would do my own research rather than be taken in by the Tsunami of Fear that appears to be forming with great velocity.
This virus appears to be splitting the country and communities, some are in fear of their well-being and their families, others do not see the issue as it only affects the elderly and the immune depressed individuals and as they are neither it isn’t a concern for them. This certainly paves a direction for the moral compass, do we just look out for ourselves or do we address this outbreak as a community in a balanced and realistic manner, with the pragmatism of how this will affect the economy and the mental health implications thereafter?
As a Remedial Bodywork Therapist I shall leave that debate out there, what I wish to discuss and focus on is how we can empower ourselves and our health to help fight against this virus and others.
By living in fear and anxiety it actually suppresses the immune system, therefore I would like to share with those people whom are feeling anxious due to the unknown and feeling out-of-control, to be able to take positive actions towards their own health and feel empowered rather than fearful.
Support your Immune System
70-80% of our immune systems lay within the digestion system, therefore by taking as many measures to support your digestion will help boost your immune system.
Breathing through your abdominals using your diaphragm has many health benefits. It improves your “Vagal Tone”, by stimulating and releasing your Vagus Nerve CN X. The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve travelling from the brain, throat/larynx, lungs, heart, diaphragm and into the whole digestion system. It forms an intrinsic part of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which is our rest and digest, feed and breed mode.
For homeostasis of the body, the PNS functions alongside the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). our fight /flight mode, which we need to get out of bed in the morning. The PNS and the SNS are the Yin and Yang aspects of our bodies, we need both to function well for our balanced health.
When you have good vagal tone, it makes us relaxed allowing our digestion system to function at its optimum, thus improving absorption of the key nutrients, minerals and vitamins for our body to function healthily.
Therefore, when the nerve is irritated through stress/anxiety and fear and musculo-skeletal, fascia and soft tissues restrictions that impinge the vagus nerve, our body is unable to transverse into the PNS rest and digest mode as easily, remaining more so in the heightened state of the SNS, which affects many aspects of our health and mental well-being, especially our digestion and immune system as the SNS when heightened, suppress the digestion.
As you will see from the image below, the vagus nerve innervates the lungs and heart, which when irritated through impingement it can cause heart palpitations and shortness of breath , which is relevant to the recent coronavirus.
Thereby practising diaphragmatic breathing daily and as often as possible will stimulate and improve the function of the vagus nerve, thus benefiting your immune system. Please also see a link to my video about Diaphragmatic breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing will also increase your lung capacity and improve lymphatic draining of the pleura and alveolar within the lungs, which the virus affects and blocks causing a mucus fluid build up.
Support and Nourish your Digestion System
The Gut is probably the most under rated organ within our bodies, yet it holds a vital role in our health and mental well-being. It is starting to become called The Gut Brain.
During the embryological stages of our development , the digestive tract, Central Nervous System and the Cardiovascular System form at the same time. From the Digestive tract (fore-gut) two buds form, which then proceed to grow and become our lungs. This highlights, how important gut health is to the function of our lungs. It has been found that food intolerance and allergens have a direct effect on people who suffer with asthma and sinus issues.
Through use of anti-biotics; irritants and chemicals within our foods, allergies such as gluten and sugar, the villi within our intestines, which are similar to microscopic nutrient absorbing fingers, overtime become worn away, which has a detrimental affect on our health and immune system.
By focusing on our gut health by in taking of healing foods and nutrients and good bacteria, it lines and coats the villi in our intestines, blocking the way for allergens and “bad” bacteria to become resident within the gut.
Probiotics - The good bacteria are found in naturally fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, natural yogurt. Pro-biotics are available in tablet form too. Avoid the processed ones with dairy and sugar. Look for a good quality pro-biotic that will pass through the stomach into the small intestine where it is needed.
Prebiotics – the food for the pro-biotics – onions and garlic for example
Gut Healing foods – Chicken broth contains collagen to help repair the gut. Aloe vera juice also aids healing and the digestion
Reduce your processed food and sugar intake – this irritates the gut and fuels the growth of the fungi Candida, which if becomes systematic in our gut can cause significant health issues.
The book about the Gut by Gtulia Enders is a great read and opens our minds as to what lays under the ribs and above our hips…The area we tend to not want to look at and try to hide and flatten…an area that needs lot of TLC from us.
Improve your Lung Capacity and Reduce Toxicity
As mentioned earlier, increasing your lung capacity will aid the body’s immune system to eliminate viruses, byproducts and toxins.
Increased environmental and ingested toxins and poor ventilation weakens the lungs capacity and lymphatic drainage.
Therefore the following measures will help support your immune system and lung capacity:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Walking in the open countryside and seaside, fill up your lungs through the abdominals and into your thoracic area, allow your shoulders and sternum (breast bone) to expand and open out and downwards. Really open your lungs feel them expand and exhaling detoxifying them.
- Aerobic exercise to help stimulate the lungs, heart and liver to detox.
- Yoga and meditation – Open and release your thoracic area by doing gentle stretching and breathing into the stretch. Deep breath into the abdominal area into the lungs, heart and your back.
- Reduce and where possible eliminate toxins –
- chemicals/cleaning products
- poor air quality and ventilation
- support your liver to aid elimination of toxins
Support your Liver function
The liver plays an imperative role within cleansing our bodies and eliminating toxins (just one of its many functions).
It is actually our immune systems reaction to viruses, bacteria and toxins that invade our bodies which makes us unwell.
Therefore efficient elimination of toxins within our bodies through the part-function of the liver, reduces the level on how our immune system reacts to these allergens. Hence, the quicker the body eliminates the toxins the less effort and energy is consumed by the immune system fighting them.
Therefore, focusing on how we support our liver is imperative for our immune system, please see below recommendations:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing – this moves and stimulates the liver for optimum function and to avoid stagnation . The right kidney sits just below the liver which supports the liver in elimination.
- Nutrition – ensure you have a balanced diet including as many organic vegetables and fruit. Please see a link with ideal liver functioning support food: https://www.fishertitus.org/health/what-foods-cleanse-your-liver
- Hydration – more water less alcohol and caffeine
- Reduce or stop smoking
- Milk Thistle and Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother are known to assist detoxing
In summary, breath maximising your lungs, increase your vagal tone to be more relaxed and improve your liver and digestion function and immune system, eat well, exercise, get some fresh air into your lungs and rest and sleep well. As well as the good hygiene, washing ones hands regularly and not touching our faces.
Remedial Therapy Clinic
As Remedial Bodywork Therapist I release adhesions and restrictions within the soft tissues and fascia that encompasses the whole body down to the cellular level including the visceral organs and the nerves.
Myofascial Release and Visceral Manipulation helps promote optimum health through releasing restrictions of the body which may over time bring dysfunction to our organs, central nervous system and musculo-skeletal system.
Diaphragmatic Breathing is a tool that I share with every client as it has such amazing health benefits, which you can practice whenever suits you and it’s FREE!!!.