When we think of the immune system, we often think of our ability to fight off coughs and colds. But the body’s immune system does much more than simply seek out and destroy germs and viruses. It is an enormously complicated set of processes that work together to keep our cells and organs healthy and in balance. Most of the time, these processes work so smoothly we tend to take them for granted. But occasionally, the immune system fails to work properly. And when that happens, we find ourselves facing
Environmental Toxins Weakening the Immune System
Unfortunately, the last few decades have seen an increase in environmental toxins, over-refined food, and stress which can contribute to the weakening of our immune systems. As a result, we are experiencing a rise in immune system-related diseases, from allergies to Lupus. Even conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression often signal reduced immune system function.
The good news is that chiropractic has developed a solid core of treatments to help restore immune system health and reduce the likelihood of developing conditions and diseases that can result from weakened immune systems.
Holistic Health Approach
As with other types of disorders, the chiropractor views immune system issues from a holistic standpoint. This first becomes evident during diagnosis. For example, in some cases, a patient will come to a chiropractor with a specific condition that is clearly related to immune system function. But in other cases, the chiropractor may discover using nutritional supplements to help strengthen the immune system are very important in keeping up your body’s defenses.
A good place to start is in choosing the right foods. Foods grown using pesticides and non-organic fertilizers can cause damage to the lining of the intestinal wall, making it more difficult to absorb nutrients, as well as other problems. Therefore, your chiropractor may recommend you eat organic food as one important step in restoring digestive health.
In addition, such conditions as yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract can lead to imbalances that make it difficult to properly absorb nutrients from food during the digestive process. Supplementing with acidophilus and bifidus can help restore the correct balance of beneficial microorganisms in the intestinal tract. So this may be another course of treatment recommended by the chiropractor.
Even adhering to an organic diet doesn’t eliminate exposure to all environmental toxins. As a result, restoring immune function may also require using nutritional supplements to help detoxify the body. Taking nutritional supplements, such as MSM and Alpha Lipoic Acid, which are high in sulfur, can help the body rid itself of heavy metals, such as lead and mercury. In addition, the chiropractor will often prescribe herbal preparations to help detoxify the body. And because many toxins build up in the liver, supplements and spinal adjustments that strengthen liver function may also be necessary.
Stress’s Role in Weakening the Immune System
Stress can also be a serious contributor to weakening the immune system. When we’re under long-term physical or emotional stress, our bodies tend to use up certain nutrients very rapidly. This depletes the normal supply of these nutrients in the blood and can make them unavailable to help support immune system health. Taking a multivitamin, multi-mineral supplement is the first step in restoring nutrient levels in the weakened immune system is contributing to a seemingly unrelated complaint. For example, you might visit the chiropractor for frequent headache, but in the course of diagnosis, it’s discovered that your headaches are caused by food allergies.
There is only one way to find these types of links: the chiropractor must consider your entire physical and mental status. By doing this, the chiropractor ensures that the underlying cause of your condition, rather than symptoms alone, is addressed.
Diagnosing and Treating Issues with the Immune System
To complete a holistic diagnosis, today’s chiropractor uses a combination of Eastern and Western medicine diagnostic tools, ranging from clinical blood tests to kinesiology (muscle testing), to examination of spinal alignment. Many of these diagnostic tools yield important clues about immune system function.
Once the diagnosis is complete, the chiropractor will design a treatment program. To do this, it’s important to consider all elements that contribute to immune system function. For example, the thymus produces a number of hormones important in our bodies’ immune system defenses. As a result, problems related to the thymus gland are often associated with reduced immune system function. So for patients with immune system problems, the chiropractor may seek therapies that will support the thymus.
One such treatment is the correction of spinal subluxations (subtle misalignments of the spine) to re-align vertebrae associate with thymus function. In many cases, as few as three or four chiropractic adjustments are all that is required to realize significant improvements in immune system health.
Chiropractors also recognize that a strong immune system begins with a healthy digestive tract. Did you know that more than half of the body’s immune system defenses are located in and around the small and large intestines? This means that eating well and blood. Other supplements, including the amino acids L-Tyrosine, L-Glutamine, and 5HTP can also be taken to help lessen the negative effects of stress and to restore blood levels of these critical nutrients.
When the immune system is functioning smoothly, your body can draw naturally on its ancient healing wisdom. But sometimes you need help in boosting your natural healing abilities. With the right combination of therapies, ranging from nutritional supplements to spinal adjustments to dietary counseling, your chiropractor can ensure you enjoy optimal immune system health – your own body will do the rest.