Now more than ever, it is vital to boost your immune system to protect yourself from COVID. Acupuncture strengthens your immune system by boosting energy and increasing blood flow to promote healing.
Traditionally, acupuncturists’ understanding of human health has been based on the notion of Yin and Yang, the equilibrium between two opposite yet interdependent forces. Per this theory, offsetting this balance toward one side would result in an illness, and acupuncture could restore health by reinstating the equilibrium.
In this article, you will learn how and why acupuncture helps boost your immune system. Also, I will give you a few tips to do at home for self care that will help in between visits.
How does acupuncture help boost your immune system?
Do you find yourself catching frequent colds or have seasonal allergies or asthma. Likely you have a suppressed or weakened immune system. There are several reasons as to why your immune system could be weakened. It could be due to extreme stress, lack of sleep or movement or poor nutrition. Acupuncture is one of the many ways a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner uses to strengthen your immune system.
Why does acupuncture help your immune system?
Acupuncture regulates immune function by stimulating specific portions of the autonomic nervous system through select acupoints causing a response in the immunes system.
According to TCM, the body is protected by something known as the Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). The Wei Qi, or defensive Qi, is comparable to the immune system in traditional western medicine. It acts as the first line of defense when the body is under attack from external pathogens or viruses.
If the Wei Qi is strong, then the body is capable of fighting off bacteria and viruses. Studies show that regular acupuncture treatments prevent the body from getting sick because it increases the number of T-cells the body produces. T-cells destroy the bad bacteria and viruses in your body! 
Science Tip I couldn’t resist sharing:
- Acupuncture raises levels of interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin (IL-4) (immune system hormones that play a major role in immune responses). 
- The acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli) is widely applied in immune-related diseases. 
Already sick? Acupuncture helps with that too.
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time worrying about our immune system until we’re sick. Good news is acupuncture treatment at the time of sickness promotes the body’s ability to heal itself too! You will see symptoms, such as sore throat, body aches, headache and fever decrease quickly after your acupuncture treatment.
Self-Care Instructions in between acupuncture treatments
Follow this self-acupressure treatment routine to support your immune system and ward off colds and flus this season. As maintenance or in between acupuncture treatments, you can do this 2 times a day – upon waking and before bed.
Get into a comfortable position and spend 30 seconds on each point indicated below:
Kidney (KI) 27: KI27 is a superior immune-boosting point. It is located roughly one inch from your midline (draw an imaginary line down the front of your body that passes from your nose down through your belly button), on the lower border of the collar bone.
Ren (CV) 17 and Ren (CV) 6: CV17 and CV6 both strengthen the immune system. CV17 is located on the midline of the sternum (breastbone) just slightly above the nipple level. CV6 is located on the midline two finger-widths below the belly button.
Large Intestine (LI) 11: LI11, although more useful as a fever-reducing point, is also used to help prevent colds, flu and other immune-compromising conditions. Find this point at the lateral (outer) edge of the elbow crease.
Lung (LU) 7: LU7 is a very common point to use for symptomatic relief of cough, headache and/or stiff neck. It can be used to increase the defensive qi and your immune system. To locate it simply make a thumbs-up sign. When you do that you’ll see a depression at the base of your thumb. From that depression, LU7 is located approximately two finger-widths up your arm.
Large Intestine (LI) 4: LI4 is a famous decongestant and anti-inflammatory point. It is a powerful point for any head pain or tension and strengthens the immune system. It’s located in the space between the thumb and first finger, half-way along from the wrist crease to the fist knuckle.
Stomach (ST) 36: ST36 is one of the most effective acupuncture points for strengthening the immune system and recovering from fatigue. ST36 is found about a hand length below the kneecap, slightly lateral and beside the prominent tibia bone.
Chinese Herbs or supplements help support immune system
Maybe Chinese Herbs or supplements are new to you, but it is worth investigating or talking to a certified acupuncturist or herbalist. Many herbs are adaptogenic, immunostimulants that tend to be prescription grade to ensure high quality. Depending on the herb, they can stimulate blood flow, increase metabolism and support your hormones. Chinese herbs and supplements are used to restore normal function of the body to strengthen your immune system (and not just focus on disease).
Top recommended herbs/supplements to increase your immunity are:
Zinc supplementation has been proven to shorten the duration of the common cold. Many common colds are caused by coronaviruses. 
Vitamin C supports your innate and adaptive immune systems by supporting epithelial layer cells. Epithelial layer cells make up the membranes of your respiratory system. For COVID-19, respiratory symptoms are common, so increasing vitamin C intake can help support these immune systems. Eat your vitamin C to by eating more foods like bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, and strawberries. 
Like, Vitamin C, Vitamin D supports our innate and adaptive immune systems. It is important to supplement with vitamin D because it is often the case that being outside in direct sunlight is not enough. Make sure to speaker to your medical doctor before starting to take Vitamin D. It is a fat soluble vitamin that can be toxic is you overdose. 
Glutathione supports the lymphatic system and the liver to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are linked to aging and damage to other cells in the body. Eat glutathione by eating avocado, raw garlic, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.
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Acupuncture is becoming more popular for good reasons. It is a powerful technique that promotes harmony and balance in the body. This results in boosting your immune system to protect yourself from viruses, pathogens and toxins lurking in our environment.
- Kim SK, Bae H. Acupuncture and immune modulation. Auton Neurosci. 2010 Oct 28;157(1-2):38-41.
- Paludan, S. R. “Interleukin-4 and interferon-gamma: the quintessence of a mutual antagonistic relationship.” Scandinavian journal of immunology 48, no. 5 (1998): 459-468.
- Neff, T. (2020, March 25). Coronavirus: To zinc or not to zinc? UC Health.
- Carr, A. (2017, November 3). Vitamin C and Immune Function.
- Aranow, C. (2011, August 5). Vitamin D and the Immune System.
- V, Lobo. (2010, July). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.