There are many reasons why you could want to build up your immune system. But one of the best ones is simply that you’ll live a healthier, more vibrant life. Whenever you get ill – even if it is just a simple thing such as a flu – it comes with a cost. You simply can’t perform at your best, your mind isn’t as sharp, your emotions are affected, not to mention all the physical symptoms.
And if you have a weak immune system, it’s not just a cold that you need to worry about – you are much less able to fight infections in your body and this can over time wear your body down and put you at the risk of very serious, threatening diseases.
There are a couple of things that you can do to build up your immune system. Exercise and healthy eating are two of the most important and common pieces of advice given to people who want to be healthier. And it’s true – this is kind of the maintenance job of your body.
But there’s more to it. If you thik about it – all the jobs your immune system takes care of, it is an incredibly complex job. And every time you breath, you impact how well your immune system can do it’s job – deep, relaxed breathing helps your body to function at it’s best, whereas shallow, tense breathing takes away from its capacity. Even the thoughts that you think can impact your immune system. For example, stressfull thoughts cause certain hormones in your body to be released, which suppress the proper functioning of your immune system. Your unconscious mind is heavily involved in controlling the strength of your immune system.
Scientists Say Hypnosis Can Build Up Immune Systems
The Washington State University conducted a study to find out whether hypnosis can really help to boost the immune system. They gave one group of volunteers hypnotic suggestions to increase their immune system. They gave a second group of volunteers hypnotic suggestions to relax. And they gave a third group of volunteers no suggestions at all. They measured the amount of T- and B-cells before and after the suggestions.
The results? Well, the people who received suggestions to increase their immune system had the largest increase in T- and B-cells of all control groups. Skeptics of course argue that it is all due to the placebo effect – but what does it matter? If hypnosis can trigger a placebo effect that actually increases the amount of defense cells in your body and builds up your immune system, then it does just what it is supposed to do.
Remember that you have only one life – and all the treasures in the world fade in importance in contrast to your health. Your health is the most precious thing that you have – but most people only realize this when their health begins to falter. That’s why it’s so important to take charge of your health and do what you can to strengthen your immune system.
Things You Can Do To Build Up Your Immune System
There are of course other things that you can do to strengthen your immune system.
Spend more time outdoors: just spending more time outdoors in nature is one thing. Scientists from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine have found out that overuse of antibacterial products can weaken your immune system. This goes back to the old idea that your immune system does need some “training” – if you always shield your immune system from harmful bacteria, it can cause it to weaken.
When you go outdoors, especially into nature, you expose your body to many different kinds of bacteria – but it turns out, that is actually good for your immune system.
Get good sleep: If you don’t get enough quality sleep, it negatively affects your immune system. ((Irwin MR, Wang M, Ribeiro D, Cho HJ, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Martinez-Maza O, Cole S. “Sleep loss activates cellular inflammatory signaling.” Biological Psychiatry 2008 15;64(6):538-40. for more details)) You might want to get help falling asleep faster.
Reduce stress: Short term stress is ok for you if you manage it properly. But if you suffer from chronic stress, it takes a toll on your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to illness. ((Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.” Psychological Bulletin 2004 130(4): 601–630.)) Learn more about Stress Management Strategies.
Understanding The Immune System
It can also help to better understand the mechanisms involved. How does your body protect itself against threats to its health? And for example, if you breathe in a virus, how does your immune system bring the cells that can fight the virus to the right place? When you scratch your ellbow, how does the immune system fight an infection, how does it get there?
Well, it gets there via your circulatory system. That’s of course what the white blood cells are for.
But think about it again – how does a white blood cell get to the right stop via your circulatory system? How does a white blood cell “know” when and where to exit the bloodstream?
It’s not an easy problem to solve, especially because red blood cells move through your blood arteries and veins at speeds of several hundred miles per hour.
The way your body helps your white bloods cells to “take the right exit” from a vein is by expressing certain proteins called selectins on the inside of your vein. These selectins kind of stick to special sugars in your immune cells, thus slowing them down.
Then there is another gang of proteins, they’re called integrins. These are folded most of the time, and as long as they are folded, they don’t do much. But when they get their start signal, they unfold – and that’s when they bring white blood cells to a halt. When these integrins stop a white blood cell, what happens is that the immune cell then squeezes itself through the empty spaces between the cells that make up the walls of your veins.
When there is inflamed tissue anywhere in your body, this inflamed tissue creates chemokines. You remember that the integrins need a signal to unfold – well, it’s those chemokines that give the integrins the signal to unfold (and thus send them over immune cells).
It’s a complex process, and it functions best when your body is in a relaxed state. That’s one of the reasons why hypnosis can help to strengthen your immune system.