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Avoid the Flu: 4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

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Avoid the Flu: 4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

For this year’s flu vaccine, it’s estimated that recipients are only protected from 30% of flu strains that are circulating the U.S population. So what does that mean for you? It means that you may want to learn a bit how your immunity may be affected, if your lymphatic system is ready to combat possible flu threats, and find out ways to boost it.

Immunity is your body’s ability to ward off damage or disease through its own defenses. What’s interesting about your immune system it consists of the lymphatic system, which is a part of its adaptive regiment. This means as your body is exposed to different viruses and bacteria, the lymphatic system is able to learn from those encounters to create defenses specific to those threats. Through the adaptive component of the immune system, vaccines encourage your body to create immunities to the disease that you’re getting vaccinated for. If you get the chicken pox vaccine for instance, your body builds immunity against chick pox and thus significantly reduces that chance of getting the disease.

When we think about the lymphatic system’s ability to build immunity, we can look into lymphocytes; which are a type of white blood cell only found in the lymphatic system. Lymphocytes include B cells and most famously, T cells. B cells are responsible for binding with a threat (antigen) and creating antibodies against that antigen. T cells can aid B cells, but are most known for directly attacking virus-infected cells. Both of these cells are able to adapt to incoming threats, which almost make them seem like “smart cells.” If the Amazon Echo were a cell in the body, it most certainly would be a lymphocyte.

So how can you boost your lymphatic system to make sure your lymphocytes are ready for the biggest threats of the flu season? Here are 4 simple ways to do it:

  • Drink Water

This one might seem obvious, but your body works best when it’s well hydrated. For the lymphatic system especially, water helps lymph fluid move throughout your body and cycle toxins out of your tissues.

  • Dry Brushing

Taking a soft bristle brush and smoothing it against your skin can help encourage the transport of lymph. With dry brushing, you want to make sure you use the right pressure at home to get the lymphatic benefits. If you’re unsure, ask your massage therapist about what that pressure might feel like. For more benefits on dry brushing, click here.

  • Lymphatic Massage

The most efficient way to directly move lymph fluid out from your tissues is through massage. Massage therapists are specially trained to work with the exact pressure and movements used to drain your lymphatic system. When your lymph fluid is congested in one part of your body (think, sinuses), it can be really difficult for your body to function in other areas. Without drainage, some parts of your body might see swelling, dullness, stiffness, and congestion. If you’d like to get an idea of what it feels like, ask your massage therapist to do a mini demonstration for you. It’s light, delicate, but extremely effective.

  • Red Clover

There are a number of herbs that have proven effectiveness in improving lymphatic health, one of them includes the red clover. Red clover flowers are popular for increasing the flow of your lymph and thus reducing inflammation. If you want to extend your immune boost with herbs, choose a red clover tincture to help cycle waste and toxins from your body.

Flu season is not over, so make sure you take the right precautions to boost your lymphatic system and build up your immunity. Ask your holistic practitioner which recommendations might work for you, and stay healthy this season!

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