6 Meridians for a Healthy Immune System
When it comes to our immune system, we can use the meridians to build strength and resilience by strengthening and stretching the muscles along the meridian lines.
Infinity Flexibility uses exercises to correct both physical and energetic imbalances in the body. This type of energy work can stimulate hormone and neurotransmitter production, effectively healing the body with physical exercise and movement.
A healthy immune system is easily identified once you know what it looks and feels like. If you eat right, maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and get enough sleep 80 percent of the time, your immune system is strong.
The meridians that contribute to a healthy immune system are:
Lung (Large Intestine)
Appendix & Thymus
A weak immune system is a result of qi deficiency and an overactive immune system is caused by qi imbalance. In either case, Traditional Chinese medicine can work to build qi or regulate its production in the body.
If your immune system is weak, your qi is deficient. You need to build strength in the lung and spleen while calming the skin meridian response. This will increase qi flow and production.
If your immune system is overactive, your qi is imbalanced. This imbalance starts in the kidneys, so you need to build strength in the kidney, bladder, spleen, lung, appendix, and thymus to bring the body back into balance.
The 6 Immune System Meridians
Let’s take a look at the role each of the meridians plays in your immune system response starting with the immune system mastermind, the skin.
Skin: Immune System Mastermind
Your skin is the primary meridian for improving immune system health. Stress suppresses the immune system. The skin meridian, or triple warmer, controls our fight-or-flight response and is constantly “turned on” when you are stressed out.
To control our body’s stress response and reactivate the immune system, you need to calm the skin meridian. Our skin meridian controls the body’s immune response. When our body is under strain, our skin meridian does whatever it can to get us back to our earlier healthy state. Without support, the skin may go about this in an inefficient way. Your skin can get so caught up in protecting you that it may not even realize when the problem is resolved.
If your skin meridian is in fight-or-flight mode due to an immune system challenge, you need to first:
- Calm the skin/pericardium meridian and strengthen the spleen/stomach
- Then strengthen the skin/pericardium while continuing to strengthen the spleen/stomach
To support the skin you need to do four things: eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, reduce stress, and get enough sleep. Keeping consistent with your good habits is key to having a healthy relationship with your skin meridian. It needs to be constantly reassured and honored for its contribution to your health.
When your skin meridian is balanced, you are kind-hearted, joyful, social, and stable.
Counterbalance skin exercises with its balancing meridian, the pericardium.
Spleen: The Mastermind’s Assistant
When the skin falls into fight-or-flight mode, it pulls energy from the spleen meridian. The spleen is not a fighter and it doesn’t respond well when its energy is commandeered by the skin. In this way, the body’s immune response compromises the body’s strength rather than improving it. This is why we need to calm the skin in order to begin to treat the immune response.
When spleen energy is redirected to the immune system, our metabolic process is disrupted. This is not only a physical disturbance in the way our body processes food but an emotional and mental one. We cannot fully process our ideas, feelings, and decisions without a healthy spleen/skin relationship.
Understanding the symbiotic relationship between the skin and the spleen is crucial to healing the immune system. Calm the skin, strengthen the spleen and you will see the effects on your weight, energy, and emotional processing.
A healthy spleen relies on a balanced diet and smooth digestion. Check out this article if you want to learn how to strengthen your digestive system using the meridians.
Counterbalance spleen exercises with its balancing meridian, the stomach.
Lung: Wei Qi Immune System Building
Defensive Qi, or Wei Qi, is our external energetic defense against invading pathogens and disease. Wei Qi is built from the air we breathe and the food we eat. The lungs circulate and activate Wei Qi in the body.
If lung energy is compromised, our body is at risk from external pathogens and environmental factors. We see this imbalance primarily in the respiratory system. Often an illness begins in the respiratory system and, depending on the strength of the immune system, it can move deeper causing fever, diarrhea, etc.
Since this meridian is directly affected by the air we breathe, our environment may provide clues as to why our lung meridian is weak or imbalanced. It could also be affected by feelings of grief, sadness, or depression.
Check out this article for ways to build Wei Qi with the breath.
Counterbalance lung meridian exercises with its balancing meridian, the large intestine.
Appendix & Thymus: The Underrated Immune Response
The thymus is extremely active during childhood. Our childhood defense mechanism provides adaptive and smart immune responses. We have seen the thymus at work during coronavirus. Many children have little to no symptoms as their immune systems quickly incorporate the antibodies.
As we approach adulthood, our immune system is fully functional and the thymus reduces in size and eventually becomes little more than residual fatty tissue.
The appendix assists with the production of white blood cells and the creation of antibodies. It stores beneficial gut bacteria and protects us from bad germs by creating and protecting good germs. When people have their appendix removed, their body compensates.
We do not know exactly how crucial the appendix is to our modern-day lives. Scientists hypothesize that the appendix could be useful for restarting the digestive system after illness.
The appendix has taken on the status of the “residual” organ. Astronauts even have their appendices removed to prevent the need for emergency surgery while in space. However, healing with the meridians is not dependent on the presence or health of the organ itself. The lines of energy pass through where the organs reside and energy can still stagnate or become overstimulated if not exercised regularly.
Kidney: Inherent Strength
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the kidney produces “essence” which is necessary for the creation of qi and blood. Essence is necessary for all growth and development. We are born with a certain amount and we lose essence as we age.
The kidney also plays a role in regulating yin and yang in the body. In TCM, when yin and yang are out of balance, illness may also be present in the body. Check out this article on the importance of yin/yang at Infinity.
Imbalanced qi is often tied to a compromised immune system. You are born with a certain amount of kidney essence and its presence will dictate your constitution and health throughout your life. Finding the balance between yin and yang, rest and work, will help the kidneys maintain their strength throughout your life.
Counterbalance kidney meridian exercises with its balancing meridian, the bladder.
Heal the Immune System
To start to heal your immune system, you need to look at the patterns of your illness.
- Do you constantly get sick during flu season?
- When you feel run down, do you immediately get a cold?
- What do your illnesses look like?
- Do you always get a cough? A fever?
- Do you often have diarrhea or constipation?
- How is your diet? Your sleep?
- On a scale of one to ten, how stressed are you on a daily basis?
Do the exercises for the skin & pericardium, spleen & stomach, lung & large intestine, and appendix & thymus. Stay consistent with your self-care by eating a healthy diet, sleeping at least 8 hours, and practicing deep breathing or meditation.
Most importantly, know that your body is off-balance for a reason. Your skin meridian can overreact, but most of the time it has a good reason. Its goal is to protect you- body, mind, and spirit- and if it gets a little carried away, it’s all in the line of duty. It’s your job to reassure the skin, spleen, lung, appendix, kidney, and thymus, to heal your body, and bring balance back to the immune system.