Stress, inactivity, and poor eating and sleeping habits can all weaken our immune system, a component of our body’s natural healing power. Not moving enough can result in inflammation around joints, and stress is a big factor in most major illnesses.
Chronic stress can also lower body temperature, which lowers immunity. Decrease in muscle mass can also cause low body temperature, since muscles are our greatest organ for generating heat, especially those in our lower body. Overeating, cold food, excessive air conditioning, inadequate sleep, and frequent use of fever reducers and pain relievers are also culprits in making the body cold.
In one of my recent posts, I briefly introduced several immunity boosting mind-body exercises. These exercises serve to reduce stress and increase body temperature. They also promote a deeper connection to the body and maximize its natural healing power.
The first of these moves almost all of your muscles and joints, making your blood, lymph, and life energy circulate better. I call it Plate Balancing Exercise. You can think of it as a form of tai chi—one gentle movement flows into the next as you mindfully focus on your body’s motion.
You can follow this video to learn how to do Plate Balancing Exercise, or you can follow the written steps below from my book, The Solar Body: The Secret to Natural Healing. I recommend doing it several times a day—whenever you need to warm up and relax your body.
How to Do Plate Balancing Exercise
PLATE BALANCING WITH ONE HAND
- Plant your right foot forward, about one and a half times your shoulder width from the other foot, with your toes pointing forward. Turn the left foot outward at about a 45-degree angle. Bend your knees slightly. Your stance should feel comfortable, balanced, and natural.
- Balance a plate on the palm of your right hand and hold it at elbow height over your right knee. Rest the back of your left hand against your lower back. (If you don’t have a plate, imagine that there’s one.)
- While leaning your upper body forward, pull your right hand (with the plate) in toward your body in a counterclockwise circle, pivoting around your elbow until your arm is straight out to the side and twisted so that your palm is still facing upward. Then continue the circle with your elbow straight by moving your shoulder until your arm is extended in front of you. Remember to keep your palm facing upward throughout the motion.
- Begin the second circle of the figure eight by moving your arm counterclockwise over your head as you extend your upper body back as far as you can. Look back at your hand as it circles behind you. Bend your elbow as much as you need to in order to keep your palm (and your plate) facing upward. As your hand passes behind you and comes around to its original position in front of you, straighten your upper body.
- Repeat this spiraling, figure-eight motion several times. Then reverse the position of your body and do the same thing using the left hand.
- You can then move each arm in the opposite direction.
PLATE BALANCING WITH BOTH HANDS
- Standing with your feet together and your palms facing upward, hold your hands comfortably at your sides. If you have trouble keeping your balance in this position, place your feet about a shoulder width apart. You can balance plates on your palms, or you may choose not to use them. You can also hold the plates in place with your thumbs.
- Bend your upper body forward, bringing your hips back and using your lower back strength to keep your balance as you straighten your knees as much as you can. Keeping your knees straight will provide the most benefit to your back and legs. However, if you have trouble balancing in this position, you can bend your knees instead.
- As you bend forward, slowly pull your hands toward the side of your body and pivot them around your elbows until your arms are out to the side.
- Then with your palms facing upward, extend your arms out in front of you.
- Raise your upper body, crossing your arms in front of you.
- Leaning your upper body backward, move each hand above your head in the biggest circle you can make.
- Then bring your hands back to their original positions. Repeat this figure-eight movement.