Before we look at Reiki and your immune system, let’s take a look at the immune system itself. We can start with a question: where is it? Can you point to your immune system?
Your immune system is different; it doesn’t occupy specific real estate in your body the way those systems do. It’s more a matter of optimized and synchronized functioning of different body parts, housed largely in the digestive system. Seventy percent of immune cells reside in the gut, which starts at your mouth and ends at your bottom.
Your immune system is involved both in prevention—barriers such as skin, tears and acids help keep foreign substances out—and in fighting off invaders that breach those barriers. Like your body’s other systems, your immune system functions best when you’re balanced and healthy, as demonstrated by the fact that 90% of the people who died from Covid had pre-existing medical conditions, most often metabolic syndrome.
Clearly the best way to support your immune system is to stay healthy.
But isn’t that a bit of a Catch-22? Your immune system keeps you healthy and you have to be healthy to keep your immune system humming. That’s where your Reiki self practice comes in.
Reiki practice is nearly effortless, and gently evokes a balancing, self-healing response from deep within your system. That means even when unusual, prolonged stressors such as pandemics happen (or more common stressors such as surgery or accidents), you’re more likely to be resilient—to stay balanced and healthy or recover faster—when you practice daily self Reiki or get regular Reiki sessions from a friend or a Reiki professional.
That’s the short version of Reiki and your immunity. Let’s go into a little more detail, with a quick romp through your immune system to help you appreciate the difference Reiki practice can make.
Immune system overview
Your adaptive immune system kicks in more slowly. It learns more about the invader and targets pathogens with specific, complex strategies. It’s also responsible for balancing your inflammatory response so you don’t suffer from runaway inflammation, the worst of which, a cytokine storm, can be lethal. And the adaptive immune system can confer longterm immunity or at least help you be better prepared to address a repeat pathogen.
Signs your immune system is engaged
How do you know your immune system is working? You actually know the answer to this one.
Redness, swelling, and/or heat or fever are all common signs your immune system is on the job. And there’s another important indication, one you might often ignore, thinking you have to soldier on.
Have you ever felt tired for no apparent reason? That fatigue could be a sign your immune system is engaged. If so, instead of pushing through, working against your body because you have something important to do, you’d be wiser to prioritize rest and lighten your schedule as you are able. That helps your immune system do its job.
That’s also a smart time to practice extra self Reiki. If you support your immune system when it’s rising to the occasion, it’s possible you can avoid getting sick, or at least have a milder illness. When the going gets tough, the tough practice self Reiki.
The pandemic has shown the difference good health can make in an individual’s ability to fight off pathogens. People who are infected with any of the variants have a wide range of experiences, from no symptoms at all to getting so sick they need to be hospitalized. While there may be many reasons for that, host immunity is clearly part of the picture. To be perfectly clear, you’re the host.
What affects your immunity?
Here’s the short answer: Everything.
Let’s look at some of the things you can control. For example, how you feel, your psycho-spiritual state, affects your immune system. That’s because your psycho-spiritual state has biochemical correlates. When you’re stressed, your body releases stress hormones, including cortisol, which suppresses immunity. Sustained high levels of cortisol contribute to insomnia and encourage the body to hold fat.
Reiki practice helps you feel calm and peaceful, which supports balanced functioning of your immune system. And by lowering your baseline stress each day, your daily self Reiki practice helps you stay balanced and steady throughout the day. That makes the difference between you responding to a challenge creatively and successfully, or reacting and making the situation worse. We all know what that’s like.
Feeling grateful is good for your immune system. So is experiencing social support, and feeling benevolent toward others, genuinely caring about people. After our free global Reiki self practice sessions, participants often express feeling grateful, both in general, and for the support of our community. It helps to deeply realize we’re not in this alone.
Are you moving enough—walking, dancing, yoga, bike-riding, running, even stretching several times a day makes a difference. When you feel good, when you’re not anxious and overwhelmed, when you’re pain-free, or your pain is at least well managed, you’re more likely to feel like moving. Reduction of pain is one of the most commonly reported responses to Reiki practice.
Everything you eat, and your ability to digest it, affects your immune system. Have you noticed belly gurgles (borborigme) or increased salivation when you practice self Reiki? That’s your digestive system engaging.
Don’t boost past balance
While people often speak of boosting your immune system, here’s where more is not necessarily better. You want the balanced immune system that is part of vibrant health, not an inadequate immune response, not an uncontrolled immune response (as in cytokine storm), and not an inappropriate self-directed immune response, as is seen in autoimmunity.
That’s why I favor whole botanical immune supports (choose turmeric instead of curcumin). While turmeric and other herbs are said to be anti-inflammatory, that’s jamming them into the conventional medical/pharmaceutical model; they’re really balancing. They help the body address inflammation rather than attacking it directly as a pharmaceutical would.
Balance is a primary value in natural, traditional health care. Everyday, we want to help the body restore balance so it can digest, detox and self-heal.
Immunity is complex and fluid, but the simple facts are your immune system is tied to your overall health and well-being, and there’s much you can do to keep your immune system humming, starting with practicing self Reiki. When you practice self Reiki, you feel better, function better, and make better choices, ones that help you stay happy and healthy. It’s that simple.
Reiki en je Immuunsysteem is a Dutch Translation of this article.
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