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How to strengthen your Immune System

Why does the change of seasons weaken the immune system?

And how can Acupuncture strengthen the immune system & prevent colds??

During the change of seasons, our bodies have to adapt more dramatically. We’re moving out of summer, which is characterized by high energy, long days, less sleep and warmer temperatures. With fall we need to think of starting to conserve our energy, getting more sleep, supporting our immune system and eating warmer foods.

Acupuncture as a preventive form of medicine makes us stronger so that we can avoid disease rather than dealing with it after it happens.

Most recently, scientists have been able to determine the role acupuncture plays in boosting the immune system by enhancing the production of natural killer cells (T-cells) - cells that destroy bacteria and harmful viruses in the body.

Acupuncture does this by provoking the body’s immune response through the use of the needles: the body thinks the needles are a threat and send their white cell and T-cell count to fight them off.

A seasonal treatment with acupuncture can improve overall health by enhancing the body’s immune system to keep illness at bay & improving your chances of avoiding the flu.

It can also provide a boost in energy levels, elevated mood and a sense of wellbeing.

I’m offering 45 minute immune boosting treatments during this season.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is very important to eat seasonally and locally. As the season's change, so should our meal plans. In the fall we should be eating grounding and nourishing foods that help to balance our hormones, strengthen our immune system, boost our energy and feel well balanced.

Here are some examples of foods that are in season during the Fall:

Root Vegetables: onions, carrots, squash, pumpkin, beets and sweet potatoes

Whole Grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats and millet

Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils and soybeans

Green Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, celery and artichokes

Fruit: apples, pomegranates, grapes, citrus fruits, pears and peaches

Fish: sea bass, cod, sole and haddock

Herbs: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, basil and dill

Below is a recipe from the Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen cookbook, written by 2 of my professors from acupuncture school, Yuan Wang & Warren Shier


This fragrant, spicy and sweet beverage might remind you of chai. The recipe is a classic Chinese medical formula known as “Gui Zhi Tang” or “Cinnamon Twig Decoction”, one of the most famous and ancient remedies for the common cold. The dried ingredients, including honey-prepared licorice root, can be found at local Chinese herb stores.


3 tbsp small slices of cinnamon twig (gui zhi)

3 (2-inch) pieces white peony root (bai shao)

4 slices honey-prepared licorice root (zhi gan cao)

3 Chinese dates (da zao or hong zao)

3 to 5 thin slices of fresh ginger

2.5 cups water


1. Combine ingredients in a small pot, cover and bring to a boil.

2. Quickly lower the heat and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, over low heat for 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

3. Strain the liquid to remove the herbs, then serve.

Especially good for:

Drinking at the 1st sign of a cold if your symptoms include chills, fever, slight sweat, runny nose, fatigue, stiff neck, joint pain, and body aches; serving to people with weakened immune systems and those with arthritis or poor circulation. Sip 2 cups a day for best results.

-By: Tiffany Cooley, LAc

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