Melaina Gasbarrino is a yoga teacher, reiki practitioner, and founder of SALT to TREE: a wellness brand founded on the principle that her followers respect the ocean (salt), land (trees), and everything in between. For STYLE Canada, Melaina often writes ‘how-to’ guides for living well. You can read her last one here.
Between our loved ones, friends, and co-workers, we hear unsolicited health and wellness advice on the daily. Take the following statements for example:
Breathe fresh air. Disinfect your space. Wash your hands after touching the bathroom door handle. Drink lemon and ginger tea. Eat a clove of garlic everyday to reduce your chances of getting sick. (Now, that’s an old Italian favourite.)
Though in the midst of a pandemic like COVID-19, there’s plenty of alternative methods we can use to leave a positive impact on our health. Right? Keep reading and I’ll tell you why this is true.
The Threefold Process
Throughout the entire time I spent in university, I suffered from chronic bronchitis. I always had a puffer by my side and held my breath so that I wouldn’t cough too much in class. After hacking my way through undergrad, I moved to Australia in order to complete my masters and dragged my lingering bronchitis along for the ride.
While in Australia, I went to a health food store that recommended I try liquorice root tea for its antioxidants, which protect bronchial cells. So, I consulted a doctor, tested it out, and saw an immediate change while drinking it in conjunction with the medication I was using.
In addition to the bronchitis, I was battling iron, B12, and vitamin D deficiencies, a lack of sleep, and low energy levels. Since I’ve always blended Western and Eastern medicine to try and balance my immune system, I drank the tea, spent time in the sunshine, and continued using a puffer. Soon, my symptoms disappeared and thankfully, bronchitis is now an old memory.
When I think about balancing the immune system today, I see it as a threefold process to healing and growth. Taking the simplest steps towards living a healthy lifestyle like eating fruits and veggies can help to support your body’s defences, but going beyond them is necessary in the middle of a public health crisis.
Here’s three immune system-balancing practices to incorporate into your everyday self-care routine.
1. Move And Meditate
When we move, we remind our bodies that we love them. Stress is the number one cause of illness and by moving into twists, we ring out the stagnant energy stored in our fascia (connective tissue). This helps build new cells and minimize the risk of getting sick altogether. Through slow and steady breaths, we’re able to balance energy, clear congestion, and enhance circulation too.
Try the four yoga postures listed below when you feel a weight on your chest or the sniffles coming on.
- Legs up the wall: This posture will help you feel grounded, relax your nervous system, even out blood circulation, and drain your lymph nodes.
- Supported fish: Open up your lungs and clear congestion in this slight backbend.
- Revolved chair pose: Wring your body of excess toxins in a modified chair pose.
- Eagle pose: By squeezing pressure points that stimulate new blood flow, you provide a boost of nutrients to the immune system in eagle pose.
2. Eat Well
Especially in the transition to spring, it’s essential to optimize the vitamins and minerals we put into our bodies by eating well. When you’re feeling under the weather, grab an apple instead of a bag of chips. Your body will thank you.
Try adding the following three superfoods to your meals and note their affects – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Broccoli is packed with vitamin C, iron, B vitamins, and beta-carotene, which are good vitamins and minerals to help bring the immune system back into balance.
- Blueberries contain anthocyanin, a flavonoid filled with positive antioxidants that give your body’s internal defence system the boost that it needs.
- Turmeric is jam-packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that improve immune response.
3. Use Non-Toxic Products
The toxicity levels in some conventional products are mind-boggling. Thankfully, more and more companies are focused on creating clean alternatives. If you’ve been social distancing and plan on self-isolating some time soon, exposure to chemical-laden cleaners and disinfectants may throw you and your hormones off balance.