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Acupuncture and Natural Therapies for Strengthening the Immune System

Nancy Lowe, L.Ac., Santa Cruz

30 May 2011

Western medicine can save your life if you come down with something serious but it doesn’t have a lot to offer when it comes to building a strong and balanced immune system.

Natural therapies on the other hand have a plethora of options that can build your immunity so you get sick less often and recover more quickly. Acupuncture, herbal remedies, proper diet , exercise, rest and stress management are all invaluable to building and maintaining a strong immune system.


I have seen many people in my office that suffer from the repercussions of a weak immune system. In Chinese medicine this usually involves the Lung and Spleen dynamics. If the Qi of these organs are weak the bodies defensive qi will weaken and we see more frequent colds and flus, fatigue, asthma, sinus infections and long recovery times to name a few. This often further weakens the system and if the patient takes frequent antibiotics things can get ugly. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to strengthen the qi which builds your bodies capacity to stay well.

Moxibustion is another powerful tool to build the immune system. It is the application of gentle heat to acupuncture points which has been shown in studies to increase the production of white blood cells in cancer patients and others with immune deficiencies.


There are Chinese herbs and herb formulas that have been in use for thousands of years that have recently gotten global recognition for their beneficial effects on the immune system. You may be have heard of astragalus or huang qi. Astragalus is considered one of the most effective immune strengthening herbs in the world. It is very useful for chronic and recurrent cycles of illness and infection.

Another class of herbs that are an effective natural immune support are the medicinal mushrooms. Reishi, shitake, and maitake are just a few of the mushrooms that are used to support immunity even in cases of serious illness.


Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and a strong resistance to illness. Too many of us are eating too many refined carbs and empty calories, unhealthy fats, and other low quality foods. If you are not providing your body with high quality fuel in the proper amounts your immune system will eventually weaken. Here are a few simple things that you can do on a daily basis that will enhance your immunity.

Eat organic foods, especially animal products.

Drink plenty of water. Sipping throughout the day is better then gulping down large glasses once or twice.

Reduce your caffeine. Green tea has many health benefits, substitute it for coffee.

Eliminate or minimize white flour and sugar. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweetners.

Eat a variety of vegetables and some fruits. Organic and locally grown is a huge plus.

Eat a diet rich in essential fats [olive, flax, grapeseed, to name a few] Avoid trans fats and saturated fats [look for shortening and partially hydrogenated on the labels].

A multiple daily vitamin and mineral supplement may be useful if your diet is erratic or poor.


Even if we are eating well stress can undo all our good intentions. The link between stress and the immune system has been proven. Stress depletes our nutritional reserves, taxes our adrenals and weakens our qi and then we get sick. If we are not resting enough, pushing too hard and ignoring our body when it tells us that we need more sleep and down time, we get sick. Unscheduled quiet time, meditation, gentle exercise and Emotional Freedom Techniques [EFT] are all helpful tools to unwind and offset the effects of stress on the immune system. Only you can take the steps needed to generate a strong immunity.

Please contact me if would like to setup an appointment.

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