How to keep your Immune System Healthy & Strong in light of Covid19 with holistic medicine.
Everything that I’m am saying in this article is an invitation and suggestion on how to think about information and see things in a way that may be different than the one we are usually given in our current society. I am not saying this is the right way nor the only way to think and see but this is how I see and think as a medicine man and healer. This holistic approach to medicine and life takes into account not just the interconnectedness and wholeness within the physical body but also the emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions of our being as well. In doing so, we will have to look at some of the underlying beliefs, assumptions and fears in our modern culture. Consumerism, the “give me & take” attitude, “quick fixes”, “more is better”, the valuing of quantity over quality. Also, the greed of having too much and the flip side of not having enough which in turn produces a mentality of scarcity. There is also the milieu of materialism, a tendency to consider material possessions, physical comfort and security as more important than spiritual values and the doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications. Then there is the ideology of reductionism which is deep rooted in Western Science and Medicine - reducing everything into isolated and separated parts. Last but not least, fear of the unknown, fear of not being in control and fear of death. These are just some of the underlying beliefs, assumptions and fears that for the most part, operate unconsciously within the collective consciousness of our society and deserve to be looked at more closely and questioned.
Always remember to listen to and contemplate within yourself according to where you are in your own life and time and become aware of the underlying assumptions and beliefs that are at work within you. In the movie the Matrix, Morpheus and Neo are on the rooftop of a skyscraper. Morpheus turns to Neo and says, “Free your mind.” Then jumps across to the rooftop of another skyscraper. Neo tries to do the same but falls and wakes up with blood in his mouth and says, “I thought the simulation wasn’t real.” But “the mind makes it real” he is told. The same thing is true of the underlying assumptions and beliefs operating within us. These assumptions and beliefs can blind us to not just to how we see our health but how we see, live and experience our life in general. If we adopt information at a surface level mentality without doing the deep inner work needed to bring awareness to these unconscious beliefs, assumptions and fears - then they will continue to control our life.
So let’s do a deep check in with ourselves. The Covid19 virus is real but does the hysteria and panic around it need to be real for us too? Do we need to live in a world where we live in fear of Covid19 and see ourselves and other people as infectious carriers of illness and death? Could a mental virus of fear actually be more ‘“deadly” than the actual virus itself in terms of the deleterious impact it may have in our social fabric and mental health? Is the hysteria creating a population of hypochondriacs & germaphobic people ridden with anxiety? At the same time allowing depression, isolation, and loneliness to become a new normal? And then there is the citizen police mentality of “social shaming”, guilt, and disapproval if you are not social distancing, staying in quarantine or wearing face masks and waiting expectantly for the newest drug and vaccine to come out and “save” us. Lastly, there is the fear of death and loss of loved ones. This is a very sensitive subject because loss, grief, pain are so very real for all of us and our modern culture has no rite of passage or initiation into the mysteries of death and life that could help us come to a deeper understanding of what being here on this planet is really all about. Does the journey end here in this universe when we die or is it just beginning again? In my personal search as a healer, I have discovered who I am - I am eternally connected to unconditional love and that is where I come from when I’m born and where I will return to when I die and I will live my life from that orientation point. I believe that this unconditional love is at the heart and essence of humanity as well.
The Facts about SARS COV 2 & similarities between it and Flu:
Last year around 61,000 people in the US died of the flu last year. Flu season is considered to start in November and end in May.
As of now around 56,000 have died from COVID19 (This includes people who have died from pneumonia with COVID19). From John Hopkins data graphs cases seemed to have peaked on 4/12/19 and are now steadily in decline. (17,000 deaths on 4/11/20 vs 200 on 5/2/20 deaths)
Both cause fever, cough, body aches and fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Can be mild or severe, even fatal. Can result in pneumonia.
Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.
Both can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear.
Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections. Both are treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation.
Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, not openly coughing into the air, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.
Covid19 is a mutated Coronavirus strain called SARS-COV 2 and the Flu has 4 main types A,B,C,D. A & B types are responsible for flu season.
Antiviral medication are used to address symptoms for both.
There is a flu vaccine but no vaccine for Covid19 as of yet.
SARS-COV 2 is a aggressive mutated corona virus strain however, the symptoms it causes and how it spreads in our environment is nothing new in comparison to how the flu can spread and infect others. This comparison has helped me see COVID19 without the hysteria and panic attached to it. But why do some people die of the flu and COVID19 yet others are ok? There are three reasons:
1. Contracting a secondary infection like pneumonia that leads to organ failure.
2. Immune System is already compromised by another illness such as diabetes, asthma and chronic lung issues, many elderly or people with autoimmune disorders fall into this group.
3. Healthy people could die as well - what happens is their immune system overreacts, the body may increase immune defenses so much that infection- fighting proteins build up in the blood and damage other organs. This is called a cytokine reaction or storm. This process, when dysregulated, can be life- threatening due to systemic hyper-inflammation, hypotensive shock, and multi- organ failure. Since COVID19 is a newly mutated viral strain this cytokine storm is happening more frequently and is the main issue of concern when it comes to dealing with this novel virus.
In terms of holistic medicine, there is an underlying energetic, mental and emotional component of physical illness and disease. An acute example of this would be how anger, frustration, resentment and their associated thoughts can create tension in the blood vessels and cause an increase in high blood pressure. Conversely, a person with chronic high blood pressure, one could infer has suppressed and unconscious anger and tension. So how can we release suppressed emotions and the corresponding mental stories that people repeat to themselves - by creating a mindset change practice. Instead of coming from a place where “life is happening to me” we change our perspective to “life is happening for me”. An example of this is when I last got sick, I changed my mindset from “why am I so sick, I can’t believe this is happening to me, I can’t take this anymore.” to “this sickness is going to clean out and upgrade my immune system to be stronger than ever before.” I then created space within me for patience and acceptance. I decided to embrace the pain. The pain was still there but my relation to it had changed, there was a breakthrough in my being and my body could then start to recover with ease and grace. Here are some other positive frequecey affirmations one could use to heal their symptoms:
Fever - “I am the cool and calm expression of peace and love”
Grief in Lungs - “I have the capacity to take in the fullness of life. I lovingly live life to its fullest!”
Cold/Congestion, mental confusion and anxiety - “I allow my mind to relax and be at peace. Clarity and Harmony are within me and all around me. All is well.”
Mass Negativity from other’s judgments & approval seeking - “I am beyond group beliefs. I am free of all congestion and influence. I love and approve of myself. Earth is a safe place to be.”
Meditation, Art and Music therapy, sacred movement and dance, Shamanic journeying, plant medicine, acupuncture, massage, energy medicine and breath work are all ways to become aware of and release energetic, mental and emotional blocks within the body and mind. They all can bring a deeper awareness into the body and mind and help one to connect to Source energy to bring about physical transformation and healing. One of the principles of holistic medicine that is at the core of any of these modalities is the process of drawing your consciousness, your spirit, back into your body, into your skin, into your bones, into all 7 trillion cells, into your DNA and into your organs - that’s where the real magic happens. When space is created for consciousness to come into the body, there is going to be the potential for a quantum energetic shift and transformation in the body. Once the body has a different frequency and vibration that it aligns to with the consciousness that comes in, then the physical body will start dancing and harmonizing and realigning around that vibration and frequency of intelligence that you’ve now downloaded into your cells, nervous system and into your DNA.
What are the energetic components of our immune system and our “immunity”? I love the art of meta-poetics where you decipher a deeper meaning from words based on their sound. In reflecting upon the word “immunity” I realized that our immunity to disease and illness carries a deeper message - “I am Unity”. Unlike other biological systems in the body such as the cardiovascular system where you can identify the heart and blood vessels, there is no actual system or part for your immune system because your immune system is YOU! Just knowing that your physical immunity has a energetic and spiritual message of “I am Unity” is so powerful. Practicing this positive frequency affirmation will transform any mental or emotional viruses and in turn keep your immune system strong and healthy when exposed to any viruses outside of your body.
Chinese Medicine has a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with infectious disease epidemics. The Wen Bing Lun or Warm Disease Theory is a Chinese medicine text by Ye Tian Shi (1667 - 1747) that identified 4 levels of “pestilent qi” - Wei, Qi, Ying and Xue. A great metaphor for the pathology of infectious disease in the body can be understood in terms of a invading enemy outside the walls of your city.
Prophylactic Immune Boosting Herbs & Nutrients & Activities: Yu Ping Feng San/Jade Windscreen Powder for example contains Astragalus root, White Atractylodes Rhizome and Saposhnikovia Root. (Anti-inflamatory, Immunostimulant and Antibacterial) (In TCM we understand each herb and formula according to its meridian, taste, temperature and function. For instance Astragalus enters the Lu and Sp, sweet, warm & boosts protective qi and secures the exterior. Vitamin C, I recommend Protocol For Life Balance, Cataplex D and Cataplex AC, Thymex, Calcium Lactate by Standard Process. Exercises to reduce stress and boost Immune system can be as simple as Qi Gong. Eating organic foods - fruits and vegetables that contain all the nutrients and vitamins you need to stay healthy and strong. This is like proactively training your soldiers and supplying them with weapons and having scouts that pick off enemies before they even get to your city walls.
Wei or Protective Level is like the enemy is outside your walls, symptoms of fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat - use Yin Qiao San or Zhong Gan Ling by Golden Flower Herbs.
Qi Level is like the enemy is trying to climb the walls and break into the gate, symptoms of high fever, cough with yellow mucus, asthma/difficulty breathing, thirst - use Viola Clear Fire and Pu Ji by Golden Flower Herbs
Ying or Nutritive Level is like the enemy has breached the walls and is now in the city, coma can occur at this level, now a days hospitalization is needed, formula Qing Ying Tang.
Xue or Blood Level is like the enemy is at the Keep, shutting down organs, symptoms of High Fever, skin eruptions, coughing up blood, blood in urine and stool, manic behavior and convulsions. Again, Hospitalization is needed. Formula Xi Jao Di Huang Tang.
Acupuncture points used for boosting Immune System: Lu9, Sp5
Colds and Flu: Li11, Lu5, Lu10 (deep cough), Li4, St36 (Boost WBC and Clear Heat), R22, Lu11, SJ5, K6 (dry cough and sore throat), St40 (phlegm), Du14(headache).
Can use Essential oils like citrus, rosemary, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, (On Guard by DoTerra) with acupressure.
Should be making Ginger, Echinacea, Lemon Teas, Soups daily especially bone broth, no sugar, dairy or fried food if sick!
Sleep, Rest and Recover.
Our Society is scared because Western Medicine has no specific drug or vaccine to treat Covid19 but is that even the best approach - is a drug or a vaccine the best solution to dealing with COVID19? (Currently, the combination of Losartan and Hydroxychloroquine have been used in hospitals to mitigate the severity of COVID19 symptoms.) Or can the solution be found in a holistic approach to treating viral infections? As a holistic medicine practitioner, I believe a preventative approach is the best way to protect ourselves against this current pandemic as well as the general health crisis our current society is suffering from. (Heart disease, stroke, COPD, Alzheimer’s, Lung Cancer and Diabetes are the top 6 causes of death in the world.)
To sum up, what would a holistic medicine approach to the body, mind, emotions, spirit and environment look like? Medicine for the body - tune into your 5 senses and become aware of what and where information is being received from - society or nature. Taste and smell - what kind of foods are you taking into your body? Is it organic fruits and vegetables or processed foods like “bigmacs” and donuts? Sight - are the images you are exposing you eyes and mind to of the blooming flowers outside and a warm wood burning fire or television and computer screens? Hearing - are the majority of sounds you are taking in coming from birds singing, friends having open hearted and compassionate communication or negative news bites based in fear and scare tactics? Touch - are you putting your hands in the soil and touching trees and loved ones or touching nothing because your afraid of spreading or picking up the virus?
What is medicine for the mind and emotions? - as mentioned before, meditation, Art therapy, counseling/coaching, sacred movement, and Shamanic journeying, plant medicine, acupuncture, massage, energy medicine and breath work are all ways to become aware of energetic, mental and emotional blocks within the body and mind.
What is medicine for the spirit and from your environment? Are you getting out in nature & experiencing the elements fire, earth, air, water and life? Are you taking the time to just Be within your Being? How much joy, play, laughter, love and wonder are you creating and allowing in to your life each day? Soul gazing, long hugs, appreciating the quiet and still moments and pauses in life and with others, looking at the Sun, the Moon, the Stars and Planets - all these things are truly medicine for the soul!
I believe humanity is at a major crossroads - one path leads to more sickness and isolation, authoritarian governmental control, people living in fear and environmental destruction and the other path is one of unity, compassion, deep healing of humanity’s collective traumas, people living with vital health and love for each other and this planet. During my own personal process, I have come to take the attitude of Forgiveness and Proactiveness as the best mindset and perspective to take during this time. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I condone the actions and behaviors of those in power or those acting out in fear, it means I “for give” and let go of the anger and pain those behaviors trigger in me so that I don’t just react and continue the vivacious cycle of suffering. Remembering who we truly are - beyond the roles of victim and perpetrator is ultimately the most significant healing that can be offered to each and everyone of us - we come from and return to unconditional love and light. Also, energetically aligning with the awareness of love & truth (being willing to listen to every perspective and point with compassion because we are all in this together) rather than fear and judgement, (wanting to just make your point, not deeply listening to the underlying emotion or human value wanting to be expressed, discrediting another’s point of view, coming from a separation mindset of you vs. me, right vs. wrong. Lastly, invoking the archetype of the Sage, one who sees the bigger picture, the coming and going of things and witnesses the passage of time, the one who doesn’t just react but waits and listens and then consciously responds in the right moment - is what I believe, will help us, walk down the path to a world where we are more happy, healthy and free.