.Cooler temperatures have brought with it a chorus of sniffles and sneezes. What gives? Flu season is back, and this year, natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy have made it more important than ever to take care of our bodies.
Recently, we came across this article outlining some of the best "new" ways to fight the flu, from sleeping in on the weekend to staying away from the sick (though, really, are these new remedies?). And while we can't quite argue the value of a solid night of sleep - after all, says Dr. Russell Sanna of Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine, exhaustion can reduce the efficacy of your flu shot by as much as 60 percent - we also can't help but wonder which alternative therapies should be added to the list.
This year, battle sore throats and stuffy noses with one of these natural remedies.
Swedish massage. As cited by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the long, kneading strokes akin to Swedish massage can result in "measurable biological effects" that could improve the immune system. How? It's science. Massage helps to reduce stress hormones while boosting the feel-good ones.
Get moving. Let's be honest; when our bodies are crashing, the last thing most of us want to do is engage in a rigorous workout. But even gentle movements can support a healthy immune system. Possible solutions: Try going for a walk or stretching gently on a yoga mat.
Meditate. The mere act of practicing mindful meditation can produce marked effects on both brain and immune function. Try sitting quietly or laying on your back in a silent room. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly, concentrating on inhaling and exhaling at equal lengths. Jivamukti yoga practice suggests repeating a mantra to the rhythm of your breath, such as "let" on the inhale and "go" on the exhale.
Dietary do's. Nutrition therapy is one of the best ways to enhance your immune system - and with little effort at that. Zeel Expert Tanya Zuckerbrot, Founder of the F-Factor Diet, recommends vitamin C for immunity defense. "Start your day with high fiber berries, and load your salad up with red bell peppers," she suggests.
Herbal medicine. Natural, alternative treatments that not only fight symptoms but prevent their onset in the first place are becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare community. Herbal medicine is one place to start. According to Acupuncture Today, an herb known as astragalus can strengthen the body and protect against external elements.