Why There is a Struggle:
WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CHILD’S IMMUNE SYSTEM
How does going back to school impact your child’s immune system? Why do some kids get sick more when they go back to school?
It is normal for your child’s immune system to be challenged during the back-to-school time period. In fact, it is unavoidable! Lots of new people and new activities expose your child to new germs her body isn’t used to yet. So her immune system is in a transition period too—it is working on getting used to new bugs!
At the same time, your child’s body is spending a lot of energy and internal resources adapting to all the other new mental and physical demands that come with being back in school.
The result? Some kids’ immune systems aren’t working maximally, and the “overwhelm” shows up in the form of getting sick!
Remember how tired you get when you’re sick? That’s because your immune system is using a ton of energy to kill off those bugs!
But during the back to school transition, at the very time when your child’s immune system needs extra energy and resources to cope with the new challenges at school, it has to compete harder than usual to get all it needs from your child’s body because there are so many other new, good, but “stressful” things happening at this time!
USE ADJUSTMENTS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHILD’S IMMUNE FUNCTION
Why do chiropractic adjustments help your child get sick less during the back to school transition?
During the exciting but challenging back to school transition, with lots of new things occurring at once, the body really has to work hard to avoid getting run down.
Neurological chiropractic adjustments help your child’s brain and body correctly perceive its challenges and respond to them, with all parts of the brain and body communicating with each other so the body knows just how to allocate its resources to keep the various body systems going.
The nervous system communicates with the immune system about which immune defense cells to build up and when to activate them. With new germs to assess, the immune system has to learn about its environment and respond correctly—just like your child learns to do in interacting with his or her teacher and classmates!
In short, adjustments enable your child’s brain and body systems to “keep in touch” with each other better so they can recognize, delegate, and handle all the different stresses—including immune system stresses—without getting overwhelmed.
And not being overwhelmed means your child’s body has the ability to boost immune system defenses as much as he or she needs during this time!
For more tips on how to handle a variety of everyday stresses, check out our tips on calming transitional nervousness. And remember to keep up with your child’s adjustments and follow her recommended care plan, or seek out a neurological chiropractor in your area.
How Whole Family Chiropractic has Helped:
As a mom, I’ve always dreaded the cold and flu season. Two years ago, four of the five of us in my family were very sick almost all winter.
This past winter, under the care of Dr. Tye Moe and Dr. Chelsey Henney at Whole Family Chiropractic, our immune systems were so much stronger—none of us missed any school or work for the first time in years!
Before the neurological chiropractic care, some of us would have colds lasting 1-2 weeks! And we’d get sick again and again.
We feel so fortunate to have found Dr. Tye and Dr. Chelsey, and we are looking forward to another healthy winter under their care. —Tari G., mother of Max, Sam, and Jack
KATHERINE FLESHER of Three Treasures Community Acupuncture, Inc.
Transition Back to School Without Getting Sick!
The return to school comes with both excitement and challenges. How can we best support the health of our children as they return to school? Chinese medicine offers some wisdom on strengthening the immune system.
The spleen plays an enormous role in determining the state of our health. The Chinese system of medicine assigns functions to organs that both encompass and go beyond the functions attributed to immune system organs by Western medicine.
Qi, or vital energy, is required for every process in life. We are born with an inheritance of qi and ideally, our nutrition, the air we breathe, and our lifestyle supplement our stock of vital energy each day. Thus the importance of the spleen, which is involved in converting the food we eat into “protective qi,” or energy/qi for our immune system.
Here we can make a connection to current exciting findings related to immunity and gut health. It is estimated that 80 percent of our immune system resides in the gut, or digestive system…which in its turn nourishes our spleen!
The spleen is especially nourished by warm, cooked foods like soups and stews—perfect for Fall and Winter.
There are several things that weaken the spleen, so here are some tips on ensuring optimal qi.
The spleen’s worst enemy is sugar, which weaken the body’s overall qi, including the protective qi of the immune system. Anyone looking to strengthen their immune system is wise to restrict sugar intake to very special occasions.
Other things that weaken the spleen are excessive cold and raw foods, mental overwork, stress, and worry.
A staple at our home for good nutrition is homemade bone broths and meat stocks. Long relied on as folk remedies for illness, modern science has found that these nourishing liquids contain important amino acids that promote immune system health.
Not only are amino acids important for healing from colds and flu, but consumed on a regular basis, they provide energy for immune system reserves to prevent illness.
Bone broths and meat stocks can be incorporated into soups, stews, and sauces, or enjoyed on their own with a little seasoning (kind of like chicken broth or boullion).
There are many recipes for stocks and broths. A broth cookbook we highly recommend is Nourishing Broth: An Old Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell.
Here is our recipe as busy working parents who like our family to consume broth on a daily basis. Broth keeps well in the refrigerator and can be frozen.
Katherine Flesher’s Recipe for Bone Broth/Stock
In a 7-qt. slow cooker place:
2-3 lbs. chicken necks and/or backs
2-4 chicken feet (may look a little scary but contain immune enhancing cartilage and are great medicine)
1 celery stalk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Add water to cover.
Let cook overnight (8-12 hours) on low heat.
Strain out the meat and vegetables and store or enjoy immediately.
In addition to avoiding sugar and consuming nourishing broths, our final recommendation for optimal health and immunity is sleep.
It’s great for kids’ growing bodies if we help them honor the natural rhythms of the Fall and Winter seasons by pegging their sleep and waking to sunset and sunrise. It is a biological stress to be out of step with nature, and one of the results can be weakened immunity.
As parents of a middle-schooler and a high-schooler, we understand how challenging it is to balance the demands of the school schedule with the demands of a growing body for optimal health. It’s not always convenient, but with commitment and planning it is possible to keep your family’s nutrition and sleep oriented to health as discussed above.
Finally, as parents, we all know that nothing is more important than creating the foundation for our family’s lifelong health and well-being!
Wishing you a happy, healthy school year with good qi!
Three Treasures Community Acupuncture is located at 2637 27th Ave. So., Suite 216, Minneapolis, Minnesota in the Seward neighborhood. For more information, call 612-823-0661 or visit www.treasures3.com