How acupuncture, Chinese medicine can support immune systems |

How acupuncture, Chinese medicine can support immune systems

Jessica Cerasoli

About the Author

If you would like additional information or a more in-depth consultation on strengthening your immune system, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, please contact Jessica Cerasoli, L.Ac., RN, at Elevate Wellness Center 530-541-9355 or Visit us at 2034 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe.

It’s that time of year again! The season is changing, the temperatures are dropping, and the kids have gone back to school. For some of us, transitions can be less than gentle and fluidic. Taking a deeper look into what is happening during this transitional time can help ease the process.

Chinese medicine is based on the observation of nature. Aligning ourselves and going with the flow of the seasons helps the body to maintain balance by adaptation. Understanding and observing how nature is altering gives an idea how our bodies are also changing and how we can best support ourselves.

In Traditional Chinese medicine autumn is associated with the lungs, which are the main organs involved in maintaining a healthy immune system. We are moving from a very active/very yang time of year — summer — and getting ready to hibernate for winter, a very yin and less energetically active time of year.

Plants and vegetation are drying up and dying, recycling themselves back into the earth and getting ready for next year’s harvest. Autumn is an introspective time of year, making it a good time to reflect on where you are, and where you want to be. This is also a good time of the year to boost our immune system to help prevent and shorten the length of any potential illness during the cold season.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine excels at preventative medicine by creating homeostasis in the body. By creating stability and balance in the body, it supports our innate ability to heal. It boosts our immune system to prevent the invasion of infections and imbalances in the body. It can also assist the body in fighting off an active infection or illness.

When stimulated, certain acupuncture points on the body cause the release of immune modulating cells to be on watch, scanning the body for infecting agents such as viruses, bacteria and/or other invaders that disrupt our proper bodily functions. Our immune system is responsible for recognizing and ridding the body of these “foreign invaders” that could cause sickness acutely, or over the long run.

Rather than just stimulating the immune system, acupuncture can help to “modulate” so that it can function optimally and adapt to our changing environment.

The use of Chinese herbs can also help support the immune system. There are many individual herbs and formulas that have medicinal properties and are best used when working with a licensed practitioner who can help decipher which herbs are most appropriate on an individual basis.

Some common foods that can help build the immune system and prevent prolonged illness are:

Medicinal mushrooms — such as shitakii, turkeytail, maitaki, among others

Bone broths/stock


Probiotic rich foods — such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, among others

High quality fats — such as grass-fed butter, raw dairy, avocado, coconut oil

Greens — preferably cooked, versus raw.

Ginger, garlic, onions/chives/scallions


1 2-inch piece of ginger

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 medium leek, scallion or onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots

3 celery sticks

1 pound chicken bones — easiest way to get these are to save them from a roasted or baked chicken.

4 dried or fresh shitake mushrooms, rinsed

12 cups water

Instructions: Use ceramic, porcelain, glass or stainless steel pot, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

*Vegetarian option: Instead of chicken bones use skins from 4 potatoes, or other vegetable peelings.

Bonus tip: Add immune boosting herbal formula ingredients for the last 45 minutes of cooking, strain and enjoy.

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