Dreaded lurgy or healthy healing crisis? Either way, osteopathy can help!
Having just emerged from a bout of the most debilitating lurgy myself, I felt inspired to reflect on these periods of illness, explore what it means to have a cold, and what we can do to facilitate a speedy recovery!
Some people seem to suffer regular colds or flu while others are able to claim they never get ill! But is having a cold always a bad thing or could it actually be a sign of a healthy functioning immune system? There are of course serious medical conditions which can compromise the immune system, but lifestyle factors play an important role in our ability to defend ourselves from the bugs that we are in constant contact with. High stress or emotional strain, lack of sleep and poor nutrition are some of the most common factors which can lower our defences and leave us vulnerable to frequent infections. However, a cold or two a year could actually be a sign of health! The body’s natural cleansing mechanisms kicking into action to eliminate unwanted matter that has accumulated over time, aka, a “Healing Crisis”.
Reaching for the drugs.
So often we reach for the Lemsip, Night Nurse, or Paracetamol to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of a cold, but in doing so we are actually inhibiting the healing process. The rise in body temperature is an important part of the immune response that helps the body rid itself of unwelcome residents; while the cough reflex, the increase in mucus production and frequency of bladder and bowel movements are all efficient mechanisms the body sets into action to eliminate pathogens and toxins. All this requires a great deal of energy, which is why we feel tired, the body is working hard! But when we suppress all these wondrous natural processes with pharmaceuticals and try to keep up with our usual work or exercise regimes, we could be setting the stage for a more serious condition later down the line. Of course sometimes life forces us to carry on and we turn to the medicine cabinet for a little relief… everything in moderation! The more we can listen to our bodies and respect our natural processes of healing, the faster we can recover and the more resilience we will have to disease in the future.
Perhaps the relentless coughing has left your chest and back feeling sore and tight? Or your neck is
grumbling at you for sleeping with an extra pillow to reduce nasal congestion at night! Osteopathy and other forms of body work can gently and effectively facilitate healing and speed recovery after illness by releasing tension, improving circulation and relieving sinus pressure through lymphatic drainage. Specific techniques, such as the “thoracic pump” can speed up the elimination of left over mucus on lungs, and manipulation of the joints in your neck or spine can rapidly reduce pain and tension.
So, some top tips to speed recovery and boost your immune system!
- Eat natural unprocessed whole foods
- Increase your intake of vitamin C with supplements and fruits (orange, lemon, kiwi)
- Home made natural lemsips (include things like root ginger, black pepper, fennel seeds, propolis, raw/manuka honey, Echinacea, Astragalus)
- Get plenty of rest, mindfulness or meditiation, as well as getting out for some fresh sea air!
- Support your body’s healing with massage, osteopathy or other forms of body work