Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have specific protocols to enhance immunity which have been cultivated for centuries. Immunity can be viewed as having a harmonious relationship between one’s body and the environment. Our defensive or protective qi must be strong enough to respond appropriately to pathogens, without being overreactive. Our medicine has time-tested acupuncture points and herbs which have been shown again and again to improve immune function.
As with all of our bodies’ functions, Chinese medicine views immunity not as a separate entity, but as part of a complex, multidimensional system of patterns. This means that in order to strengthen someone’s immunity, we not only select acupuncture points or herbs that are known to directly bolster immune function, but we we look at a patient’s entire health history. Often treating the “weak link” is essential to strengthening the body. Digestive issues, chronic inflammation, sleep difficulties, hormonal imbalances, and emotional stress are a few of the main conditions which can profoundly impact immune function and must be addressed. Chronic pain which prevents people from exercising as much as they would like must also be addressed.
We would advise people to exercise caution when presented with generalized advice for supplements, especially herbs, which are suggested to boost immunity in general. Chinese medicine is based on the foundation in which we must treat every individual in accordance with their particular history and presentation. Herbs which may enhance immunity for one person may be significantly detrimental for another. It is important for people to consult a qualified and experienced herbalist rather than self-prescribe Chinese herbs.