Our immunity may be something we take for granted until we or someone around us gets sick. Eating healthy food and getting enough rest are important for keeping our immune system in top shape to protect us from foreign invaders. But there are simple exercises that can boost our immunity as well.
These exercises work because they do several things that improve our immune readiness:
- Increase our body temperature
- Reduce stress
- Activate our parasympathetic nervous system
- Slow down our brain waves
- Improve our gut health
- Open all the energy pathways (meridians) in our body
- Create healthy energy circulation inside
- Make a positive mindset
Bringing our brain waves down to a slower alpha level frequency than their usual active (beta) level and turning on the “rest and digest” functions of our parasympathetic nervous system takes our body and brain out of a state of readiness and stress. Then it has a chance to rebuild any damage, clear out any toxins, recharge our energy, and increase our immune power. It also helps us be more focused and mindful so that we take less actions that harm our body and mind.
This also helps improve our gut health. About 70 to 80 percent of the body’s immunity is found in the gut. This activity comes from our own immune cells plus the thousands of microorganisms living in our intestines.
Tied to these factors, and one of the most important, is body temperature. Keeping our temperature at the top of the normal range increases our immunity. The immune system is strengthened fivefold when body temperature increases just 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C). On the other hand, it’s weakened by 35 percent when temperature drops that same amount.
Blood and ki energy circulation also drop in the cold. Having a healthy body, including a strong immune system, depends on having healthy energy circulation. That means having enough warm and smooth-feeling energy traveling throughout the body. It also means our energy is flowing in a cycle called Water Up, Fire Down.
As you may guess, energy has different qualities and can move in certain ways. In Water Up, Fire Down, warm fire energy generated by the heart goes down the middle of the front of the torso and pools in the energy center in the lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel and two inches inside the body. If this energy center is strong enough, the warm energy gets sent up to the kidneys, which cools it. It then travels up the middle of the back to the head. In the end, the lower part of your body feels relatively warmer than the upper part.
Water Up, Fire Down doesn’t only improve your body’s immunity; it also improves your mindset. If you have this ideal energy state, you have a fire in your belly and can keep a cool head. It’s easier to be positive and courageous.
You could say that Water Up, Fire Down improves our natural healing power. Having this power doesn’t only mean having resistance to disease. It also means discovering the essence of who we really are—the bright and pure, unchanging and unending life force that is connected to the infinite life force of the cosmos. When we connect to our essence, our natural healing power can go to full force, and we can develop a self-reliant and self-sustaining perspective toward our lives. We can live as the masters of our lives, creating our own health and happiness and bringing meaningful lives into full bloom.
To keep your your natural healing power at full strength, you can use exercises from my Immunity Boosting Toolkit:
- Plate Balancing Exercise – a gentle, flowing exercise that rotates all the joints
- Joongwan Healing – massaging and pressing the Joongwan acupressure point on the upper abdomen
- Belly Button Healing – massaging and pressing the acupressure point on the navel
- Brain Wave Vibration – vibrating the body to relax the body and brain
- Toe Tapping – shaking the legs to tap the toes together
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll introduce each exercise individually and explain how and why to do it. If you want to start boosting your immune system now, you can click on the exercise names above to go to related videos. The most important thing to remember is to keep your belly warm and relaxed and to slow down your brain waves. Regular practice is what keeps the immune system at its strongest.
I wish you a strong immune system during this cold and flu season.