• Susie MacLeod

Boosting the immune system

Do you ever hear people talking about trying to keep their immune system strong to avoid picking up winter colds and bugs?

The immune system protects the body against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies. When functioning properly, the immune system identifies and attacks a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, while distinguishing them from the body’s own healthy tissues. If the body is a garden, then the immune system is the fence and the gate which protects this garden from intruders.

A person with a weak immune system is likely to get infections more frequently than most other people, and these illnesses might be more severe or harder to treat. These individuals may also find themselves dealing with infection that a person with a stronger immune system would not get.

We can take several steps to maximise our chances of staying healthy and avoiding infections.

Managing stress

An important factor to consider when talking about the immune system is anxiety and stress. Anxiety causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol in bulk all throughout the body and anxiety may even weaken the immune system, which, in addition to triggering chronic illnesses, can leave you more vulnerable to developing things like a cold or flu.

Reflexology reduces stress and tension throughout the body’s systems, improves blood and lymph circulation and encourages the release of toxins from the body’s tissues. It is believed to encourage the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones, well documented in their ability to reduce stress.

Get enough sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation has a similar effect on the body’s immune system as stress. Lack of sleep disrupts the normal production of white blood cells, a crucial component of the body’s immune system. A decent night’s rest is particularly important when your defences are low.

Reflexology can help improve sleep - there are nearly 15,000 nerves in your feet alone which is why reflexology is calming and effective. The feet are a map of the body and during a treatment every part of the body’s system is worked on. When the reflexologist works on the head and brain the pineal gland is worked on too. The pineal gland is a small gland located in the brain that helps to regulate hormones, one of which is called melatonin. It is the hormone that helps regulate sleeping patterns.

A good diet

Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. While no single food will upgrade your immune system, poor nutrition can have a negative effect on the immune system.

Regular reflexology treatments will relax the body, reduce stress, improve circulation, cleanse the body of toxins, improve creativity and productivity and balance the whole system, creating a state of homeostasis (balance).

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