4 Healthy Immune System Habits | achs.edu

    Apr 27, 2020 4:13:06 PM

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    We have all heard a lot about our immune system lately. We are encouraged to boost it and support it as if it is as easy as getting fitted for a new bra. Reality check - it's not as easy and quick as a new underwire bra. All is not lost. Acquiring healthy daily wellness habits focused on immune support may not be as easy and fast, but they are achievable.

    Wellness habits are the daily behaviors that keep our mind, body, spirit feeling great and healthy. Let's take one example of a wellness habit most folks worldwide do - we all clean our teeth. It's just what we know to do. But, we were taught to do that from an early age. So what about wellness habits we want to add to our lives now. How easy or hard is it to acquire wellness habits as an adult? A fascinating 2009 research study that focused on modeling habit formation in the real word revealed that habits can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days[1] to really kick in depending on the individual. The key is choosing the habit or habits, get your habit tools ready, do it once, and repeat daily.

    Don't beat yourself up if you start and stop. Find you own happy habit timeline. Bottom line don't give up. If you forget one day just pick up again the next. This pandemic stay at home time is a perfect time to add some wellness habits into your daily lifestyle that will help to keep an already healthy immune system going strong. Let's all commit to 14 days. There is no time to lose. 

    Healthy Habit #1 Dry skin brushing.

    Let's start with a daily morning habit you can do before you shower. I have a calendar on my bathroom wall, and I make a checkmark on that for each day I dry skin brush. It helps to keep track. 

    How: Start with a natural bristle brush. A nylon bristle brush tears the skin, and energy healers say it disturbs the electro-magnetic balance of the skin. Use a long handle brush so you can reach up and down your back. Before you step in the shower, take your brush and start in small circles brushing all over the body on bare skin. Begin on the soles of your feet and work towards the heart to stimulate venous circulation. Do not brush the face or any tender or inflamed areas. You may be wondering why brush dry skin. Dry skin is vital as water acts as a lubricant, and the beneficial effects of the friction are lost. As you start out, the brush may feel very rough, so just use gentle pressure until you become used to the sensation. You can increase the pressure when you feel ready.

    Healthy Habit #2 A cup of Herb Tea a Day 

    Herbs are not a magic bullet. Like most wellness modalities, they work best when used as a preventative tool. Maintaining wellness with healthy habits rather than waiting until we get sick is our goal. A cup of herb tea a day is a powerful addition to your healthy immune system habits.

    How:  Herb tea should taste good – and that is sometimes a challenge with plants that pack wellness power. The range of herbs that contain berberine, a health-boosting chemical, is a great place to start for a healthy immune system. Don't let the taste put you off. If the taste is too strong, try these herbs as a tincture or even encapsulate them yourself.

    Studies have demonstrated that berberine increases blood supply to the spleen and activates macrophages, amongst other benefits. You may be wondering what a macrophage is. Think of them as cells in your body that gobble up bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. The most readily available berberine herbs are Oregon grape Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. and barberry Berberis vulgaris (L.). And  for taste appeal don't overlook the power of peppermint Mentha x piperita (L.) and licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra (L.). The flavor of both herbs helps to mask the taste of bitter herbs.

    Licorice root G. glabra has the added benefits of supporting an already healthy immune system by also activating macrophage and T killer cells.

    One more herb is worthy of a mention – there are more, but I promised to make our habits easy and straightforward. Eleuthero Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.), commonly called devil's shrub, or touch-me-not leads one to believe this may be an herb to avoid…quite the opposite is true! Eleuthero can be used in your herbal apothecary for a variety of wellness benefits and can support a healthy immune system.

    Try this tea:

    Healthy Immune Support Tea:

    Eleuthero Eleutherococcus senticosus: 1 teaspoon.

    Licorice root Glycyrrhiza glabra: 1/4 teaspoon (about a pinch!) 

    Filtered water: 1 cup

    Place your herbs into a ceramic or glass teapot. Bring the water to a boil. Do not use an aluminum pot. Turn off the heat and pour the water over the herb.

    Cover the pan and let it steep up to five minutes. Strain the tea in a non-aluminum strainer and then drink. Use immediately. Do not store. Honey, lemon, or milk can be added, although milk tends to mask the delicate flavors. Do not use honey with infants younger than one-year-old as there have been reports of botulism spores in honey, and this can be fatal in infants.

    For tincture dosages and contraindications of these herbs, please consult with a Holistic Health Practitioner. https://directory.achs.edu/

    Healthy Habit #3 A deep essential oil inhale each day

    As if life wasn't stressful enough before the pandemic, we now add physical distancing and lots of unknowns into the mix. One positive thing, we are all now in the same boat, living with a heightened level of stress. Science has revealed that the mind can heal the body, and we know events occurring in the brain can produce changes within the endocrine and immune systems using specialized nerve pathways and chemical messengers. 

    But stress is debilitating and sneaky and can show up in many different ways. Maybe you have had difficulty concentrating and making decisions or feel less intuitive and creative. Do you find yourself worrying more, feeling tearful, and extra sensitive to feedback? You may even be having more aches and pains feel exhausted when you wake up and experience short bouts of either diarrhea or constipation. Before you rush for the over the counter aids, think about your stress levels.

    This is where aromatherapy can come to the rescue. There is a lot of evidence to support several essential oils that are currently in use as aromatherapy agents to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. Like berberine, linalool, another health-boosting chemical packs a punch. It is found in many essential oils that have demonstrated anti-stress[2],[3]and antidepressant [4]actions in research. Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (L.), is the most well-known linalool containing oil and a must-have in your daily habit routine. Other oils to consider in your aroma apothecary are rose Rosa damascena (Mill.), orange Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck, bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia (Risso), lemon Citrus limon (Risso), sandalwood Santalum album (L.), clary sage Salvia sclarea (L.), Roman chamomile Chamaemelum nobile (L.) and rose-scented geranium Pelargonium graveolens (L'Her.)

    Here are is a blend to get you started:

    Relaxing Bath

    Clary sage Salvia sclarea oil: 3 drops

    Lavender Lavandula angustifolia oil: 3 drops

    Chamomile Roman chamomile Chamaemelum nobile oil: 1 drop

    This blend can also be added to the bathwater or to a foot or hand soak. Blend the oils and add 1 drop in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil or another safe diluent such as whole milk. Use the entire amount for one full bath. Add the mixture once the tub or bowl (for the foot or hand soak) is full, giving it a good swish to mix.

    No bath, no worry – add it to a shower gel or liquid soap and use it in the shower.

    Healthy Habit #4 Rescue remedy in your back pocket

    Rescue Remedy is known as a Bach flower remedy. Bach flower remedies access vital energy extracted from wildflowers, herbs, and trees and were developed by the visionary Dr. Edward Bach, who was well ahead of his time. In 1928, when only 43, Dr. Bach gave up his lucrative medical practice and went to Wales. Here he lived a simple life and devoted all his time to the study of wildflower remedies. Well, before science revealed that the mind can heal the body, he believed that worry, fear, exhaustion, impatience, resignation, and other negative emotional states depleted an individual's vitality. Once your vitality is lost, the body loses its natural resistance to disease and is susceptible to infection and illness. His most famous blend is Rescue Remedy. For your Healthy habit #4, reach for the Rescue Remedy any time of the night or day and as often as needed. Uncontrolled emotional reactions, stress and tension, extreme terror and panic and grief, and sorrow are all tamed and untangled with a few drops under the tongue, on the lips, or on the wrists. It is safe for kids and adults alike. I have even used it successfully on my potted plants when they look as if they are ready for the compost pile.

    So let's get started – why wait – get your tools and supplies ready and start the 4 healthy immune system habits wellness journey. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or how the journey is going. I am on week 2 of dry skin brushing and really notice the difference and last night languished in an aromatherapy bath that to my delight resulted in a long dream-filled refreshing sleep. Don't give up even if you miss a day or even a few just pick it back up! Enjoy choosing the habit or habits, getting your habit tools ready, doing it once, and repeating daily.

    The supplies needed for the recipes above are available here in the Apothecary Shoppe, so enjoy: https://www.apothecary-shoppe.com/collections/immune-support-and-stress-relief

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    References

     [1] Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998-1009. doi:10.1002/ejsp.674

    [2] Lee, B. K., Jung, A. N., & Jung, Y. S. (2018). Linalool ameliorates memory loss and behavioral impairment induced by REM-sleep deprivation through the serotonergic pathway. Biomolecules & Therapeutics, 26(4), 368–373. https://doi.org/10.4062/biomolther.2018.081

    [3] de Sousa, D. P., de Almeida Soares Hocayen, P., Andrade, L. N., & Andreatini, R. (2015). A systematic review of the anxiolytic-like effects of essential oils in animal models. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 20(10), 18620–18660. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules201018620 

    [4] Dos Santos, É., Maia, C., Fontes Junior, E. A., Melo, A. S., Pinheiro, B. G., & Maia, J. (2018). Linalool-rich essential oils from the Amazon display antidepressant-type effect in rodents. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 212, 43–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2017.10.013

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

    About American College of Healthcare Sciences

    American College founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

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    Authored by Dorene Petersen, ACHS Founder and President

    Dorene is the Founder and President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). She has over 40 years clinical teaching and lecturing experience in aromatherapy and other holistic health subjects. She has presented papers on essential oils and clinical aromatherapy at the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades Annual Conference (IFEAT) in California, USA; the Aroma Environment Association of Japan (AEAJ) in Tokyo, Japan; the Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress (AAIC) and Expo in Bali, Indonesia; the International Center of Advanced Aromatherapy (ICAA) at the WonGwang Digital University in Seoul, Korea; as well as the AAIC Expo in Kunming, Yunnan, China. Dorene currently serves as Chair of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC), and she is also active with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Dorene is a travel junkie, and has led ACHS Study Abroad programs to India, Indonesia, Greece, and Hawaii!

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