Crowded spaces, cold weather, and changes to the circadian rhythm all compromise our immune systems, but Ayurveda has some simple measures to that help us protect ourselves and stay healthy. From an Ayurvedic perspective, to boost immunity we want to energize and move out excess kapha (earth/water energy), and in the simplest terms, this means staying warm, eating lightly spiced foods, getting at least some movement in, and adding a few stimulating herbs and aromas.

 

Aromatherapy is a really simple way to stay healthy on the go. Your olfactory sense is the only sense that has direct access to your brain. All other senses’ are mediated through a chain reaction, whereas scent travels directly from your nose into your olfactory bulb. From there, the brain quickly and effectively sends signals to your body to make adjustments and stimulate the immune response. We always recommend that our clients keep Thieve’s Oil on hand during cold season and while traveling. Young Living Essential oil is Martha’s favorite— you can get it here. When Martha travels or feels a cold coming on, she puts a few drops of Thieves Oil on her palms and the soles of her feet. She takes a few deep breaths with cupped hands to immediately activate the olfactory immune response.

Thieve’s Oil has an amazing history. In the 1400’s, when bubonic plague swept across France, a group of bold thieves robbed the graves of plague victims, but never got sick. When they were finally caught, the judge offered to pardon them in exchange for their secret — how did they not fall ill while touching the highly contagious bodies. Their secret? Aromatherapy — a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary… which later became known as Thieve’s Oil.

We also always recommend bringing herbalized abhyanga oil with you wherever you go so you can do self-massage before showering each day to help increase lymphatic drainage. To do this yourself, use herbalized oil or even just plain sesame to massage yourself, beginning at your extremities and working your way inward toward your heart. The lymphatic system acts as our body’s sewer system, so when we’re exposed to bacteria and other immuno-compromising factors, it’s crucial to help your body detox. Unlike your circulatory system which is pumped by your heart, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, so we need to move it manually through movement and massage. It’s also really helpful to follow an abhyanga up with an epsom salt bath to help draw toxins out and let the oils penetrate deeply.

Finally, a mug of kapha-energizing ginger lemon tea helps stimulate digestion, helps the liver detox, and warms the body from the inside out. This is especially important after a long flight, eating heavy foods, or being exposed to someone sick. Keeping your digestion running smoothly will help your immune system work as it should, and keep you feeling your best!