The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus pandemic presents a health hazard to medical personnel working on the front line battling the disease—those at greater risk of getting infected due to stressful work conditions and exposure to the virus during the long hours caring for sick patients.
Without a vaccine or treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, people must rely on the immune system as the first line of defense in warding off the infection.
“If your immune system is strong, you’re better equipped to fight those infections, and the likelihood of having a milder case and recovering is better,” Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine and director of the Sleep Center of Excellence at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, according to the American Heart Association.
For this reason, it is warranted for medical workers to take measures to protect themselves by strengthening their immune systems and overall health, while continuing to practice the preventive guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Eating a balanced healthy diet is important as about 70 percent of the immune system is located in the gut.
Quentin Vaughan, a 40 year veteran of physical fitness training and instruction, says it is important to eat real food and avoid or minimize processed foods if possible. “Do your best to stay clear of processed sugar, alcohol and fast foods,” Vaughan wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.
Nutrients such as vitamin c, probiotics, and beta carotene contribute to a healthy immune system, and can be found in various foods such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, citrus fruits, and yogurt.
Adding ginger and garlic to your daily meals is also beneficial to the immune system. “Ginger is good for comforting the stomach, warming the stomach, and encouraging the digestive system,” Dr. Huan Ma, TCMD, Ph.D., L.Ac, said to The Epoch Times.
Studies have found ginger to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anticancer activities. Ginger is touted for many of its medicinal benefits that include alleviating nausea and vomiting, improving heart health, and lowering cholesterol.
Ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 3,000 years.
Ma recommends making ginger tea using three quarter size slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water, and drinking two to four cups per day. Just add more water to the ginger slices throughout the day. If fresh ginger is not available, ginger tea bags are a good alternative.
Fresh ginger “contains higher levels of gingerol, the active compound in ginger,” Jerlyn Jones, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said to The Epoch Times. Fresh ginger is available at most Asian grocery stores. “Look for roots that are smooth and free of mold,” Jones said.
Ma also suggests having a little bit of fresh garlic with your meal. “Garlic kills germs,” Ma said.
Jones says that garlic has antimicrobial properties so, “it helps with food poisoning like E. coli or salmonella.”
Like ginger, studies have found garlic to have many health benefits such as prevention of cancers and cardiovascular diseases, protection of liver cells from toxic agents, and the reduction of frequency of the common cold in adults.
Acupressure is a type of massage that is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves using the fingers, palms, or elbows to apply pressure on specific acupuncture points along energy channels known as meridians. The pressure applied on a point manipulates the vital energy (qi) to relieve pain, improve overall health, and establish balance.
Acupressure is a beneficial self-care tool that is simple to perform and has low to no side effects. Ma recommends massaging three acupressure points to help relieve shoulder tension, fatigue, and improve the immune system.
It is advisable to avoid doing acupressure on bruised areas, open wounds, and areas with redness and swelling.
Large Intestine 4 (He Gu – Joining Valley)
The most well-known point to relieve pain, the Joining Valley point, or LI 4, “can stop pain, move qi and clear the heat,” says Ma. It is located on the second metacarpal bone of the hand.
Find the most tender spot on the second metacarpal bone and apply a deep, but tolerable pressure on the point toward the bone in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes.
Although it is suggested to apply pressure for several minutes, Ma says whenever medical personnel have time, even if only a few seconds, they can still benefit by massaging the point.
Pregnant women should never massage this point as it can induce labor.
Stomach 36 (Zu San Li – Leg Three Mile)
The Leg Three Mile point received its name from the fact that stimulating this point gave people in ancient times the strength to walk another three miles after walking all day.
Ma says the point “is good for the immune system, as it is the point for strengthening the body.” The point also helps with stomach issues.
Stomach 36 is located on the lower leg, about four finger length below the knee cap, and one finger width lateral to the tibia bone. The following video shows the location of the point.
Tapping or rubbing the point will eliminate fatigue and sore legs, and promote overall wellness.
Ren 12 (Zhong Wan – Middle Cavity)
The Middle Cavity point strengthens the stomach and spleen, and relieves pain. According to Ma, the point “will help move digestion and help strengthen the stomach.”
This is a good point for people to gently massage 50-100 times in a circular motion before going to bed.
The point is located one width of your hand above the navel on the frontal midline of the body.
Dr. Ahmad Garret-Price, a family practice physician with Baylor Scott & White Health System in Dallas, told the American Heart Association that “exercise has anti-inflammatory benefits and promotes cellular repair, cell production, and producing immune cells that help you fight off disease.”
When it comes to moving the body, Vaughan wrote, “There are two essential aspects that should be considered. The first part is joint mobility and the next is cardiovascular exercise.”
Vaughan says people should consider doing simple stretches by Bonnie Prudden, “a world-class athlete” who teaches mobility routines that are easy to learn and can be included in a busy day at work. Watch Prudden’s 12 stretching exercises in a workout video on Youtube.
Stretching different parts of the body frees up “energy in the body by lessening overall tension in the body,” wrote Vaughan. “Don’t underestimate its effectiveness.”
For cardiovascular exercise, Vaughan recommends “trying to get at least 30 minutes of focused walking” while practicing social distancing. With focused walking, Vaughan says to allow the arms to swing while maintaining a constant pace to get the most benefit of this low-impact exercise.
Vaughan says there are various ways to train, but considering our health care providers’ current situation, he focused on stretching and walking because “they are easy to learn and effective.”