How Meditation, Hydration, and Hygiene Support Immune Health

Dr. Miaken Zeiger | Saturday September 7, 2019

Building Immune Health, Part II

Woman sitting cross legged on rocks meditatingBuilding immune resiliency, like health, takes place over time. Each decision you make will move you toward vitality and well-being or toward disease and death. You are never stagnant, your cells are constantly regenerating, your body re-building only to the degree of vitality you are living. When you choose to be more intentional with your choices, you’re taking responsibility for you! This leads to empowerment, adaptability, and a literal shift in the trajectory of your life. I invite you to continue on this path: let’s learn how to Build Immune Health through Meditation Hydration and Hygiene!

To continue the discussion of building immune health from Part I in this series, the following lifestyle recommendations are so simple, and yet are game-changers regarding their effects on the body and immune system!

 

Meditation/Breathing
Your immune system is highly intelligent. Your immune cells have the ability to participate in chemical messages sent by the brain to the body. This means your thoughts, emotions, and sensations are transmitted to your immune cells.2 When you meditate, these messages can change in important ways. Meditation creates a positive mental environment for your immune system to flourish; turning on healthy genes that can reduce inflammation, suppress tumors, mobilize enzymes, and more.3 Furthermore, meditation has been shown to reduce type-2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.2

Your response to potential illness, as managed by your immune system, can drastically change and improve with meditation practice.

My recommendations: spend 5 minutes in the morning and evening in quiet, focusing on your breath, inhaling through your nose, exhaling through your mouth. The goal to work up to 20-minutes, twice a day. Utilize apps for guided meditation, such as Simple Habit, Calm, and Insight Timer. For more details on how to prepare yourself for meditation, check out the following link: meditation tips.

Hydration
Our body is made up of mostly water; it removes waste, controls body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, and maintains a healthy metabolism.

Often people use juice, sodas, and/or coffees laden with sugars to hydrate. In 2010, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that consuming 120-mg of sugar (an equivalent to 2-cans of soda) will stop your immune system’s ability to fight off a virus or bacteria for five hours. If this is your main source of hydration, how well is your body able to remove waste and maintain vital bodily functions and have a responsive immune system? The answer: not very well. Your best bet: choose water first.

My recommendations: drink half your body weight in ounces (example: 150-lb person should drink a minimum of 75-ounces) OR hydrate enough to where you pee every 4-6 hours, with a pee light in color.

Hygiene
Some of the “germiest” objects on the planet include: restaurant menus, hands-free faucets, ATM machines, door knobs, and a physician’s scrubs.4 It’s not surprising to see in a systematic review that hand hygiene (washing your hands) reduces community transmission of flu and acute respiratory tract infections at schools, child-care settings, and households.5
Getting back to the basics of proper hand-washing is the best advice: using plain soap and water (no harsh disinfectants or antimicrobial soaps!) And remember, your immune system’s first line of defense is your skin (not the soap). Washing too vigorously or frequently can strip away your skin.

My recommendations: Follow these guidelines for proper hand-washing:
1) use warm water + non-antibacterial soap
2) work up a good lather, all the way to the wrists
3) work that lather
for 10-15 seconds, covering all surfaces including fingers and fingernails
4) rinse thoroughly
5) if in public places, use a paper towel to open the door.

Join us next time for Part III of this discussion where I will explore the concept of Cell Growth & Protection and how they cannot exist in both states at the same time.

Yours in Health, Dr. Miaken

Zeigler Chiropractic Immune Health Series Sources:
1. “The Flu Season.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last modified July 12, 2018.
2. Chopra, Deepak. “How Meditation Helps Your Immune System Do Its Job.” The Chopra Center.
3. Dispenza, Joe. “The Brain and Immunity.” Pathways to Family Wellness. 2016, Issue 52.
4. Mercola, Joseph. “Germier Than the Toilet Seats, But You Touch Them Every Day.” Mercola: Take Control of Your Health. May 27, 2012.
5. Warren-Gash C. et al. “Hand Hygiene to Reduce Community Transmission and Acute Respiratory Tract Infection: A Systemic Review.” Influenza Other Respiratory Viruses. 2012 October 8.
6. Elenkov IJ, Wilder RL, Chrousos GP, Vizi ES. “The Sympathetic Nerve, an Integrative Interface Between Two Super-Systems: The Brain and the Immune System. Pharmacol Rev. 2000, December 52;(4): 595-638.
7. Blanks et al., 1997, Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research.
8. Rosenthal, Scott et. al. “Perspectives on Chiropractic and Immunity.” Pathways to Family Wellness. 2016, Issue 52.
9. Stevenson, Shawn. Sleep Smarter. New York: Rodale Inc., 2016. Print.
10. Journal of Cell Biology
11. Kohut, M. et. al. “Moderate Exercise in Mice Boosts Immune System, Diminishes Flu’s Severity.” Iowa State University. October 27, 2009.

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