Why Are You Sick? TCM Explains

TCM and innune system

Why do some people always catch a cold, and others don’t? Viruses and germs, and other micro-organism are everywhere. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, but not all of them are bad or harmful.

Think of the immune system as your body’s security detail. The cells, tissues, and organs that comprise it help repel foreign invaders like harmful viruses, bacteria, parasites and other microbes that can cause infections. Disorders of the immune system range from everyday annoyances like mild seasonal allergies to serious illnesses like pneumonia. Poor diet, stress, lack of physical activities, not enough sleep and many other conditions can contribute to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to infections.

When our organs and meridian system are already weak and unable to resist “outside” invasion, it is therefore prone to attacks by harmful micro-organisms such as viruses, germs, and etc. Illness and disease can only result when our body provides a hospitable environment.

Your meridian channels control the flow of healing energy, called Qi (“chee”) throughout your entire body, including your organs. The function (health) of your lungs and the strength of your immune system all depend upon the quality, quantity, and balance of healing Qi. According to Chinese medicine, the “true cure” of disease is simply NOT to kill germs, but to reestablish and build up the body’s amount of Qi so it can fight them off naturally. Ultimately, an adequate amount of Qi is required to restore the integrity of your meridian and organ system. Micro-organisms simply cannot set up camp in a strong and healthy body.

It is also thought that your body has a protective layer surrounding it called Wei Qi, the defense energy. Your Wei QI also acts as a protective barrier to help keep illness at bay. When your Wei Qi is weakened, you become more vulnerable to illness.

Viruses and germs gather and thrive only in weakened parts of a person’s body. When there is an imbalance of Qi, the normal functions of your body will ultimately be affected. This can compromise the normal immune system response to microbes and lead to illness.

The onset of disease requires both a pathogen and a host. When microorganisms are strong, but the environment of the host (you) is stronger, the disease could be resisted. If the host is weak, however, then your environment can become a hospitable refuge for viruses, germs, bacteria, and other microbes to set up shops.

Good news! TCM and acupuncture therapy can treat a wide range of health conditions, including immune deficiency, by stimulating and balancing the immune system. The goal is to strengthen the body’s response to foreign invaders, therefore, preventing illness and disease. Acupuncture can strengthen a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T-cell count and enhancing humoral and cellular immunity. Acupuncture can regulate immune function and treat the underlying cause of the disease by reducing symptoms, speeding up the healing of infection and normalizing the body’s immune response.

Your balanced immune system is also responsible for preventing internal noninfectious disease, such as tumors and auto-immune conditions. We’ll discuss these issues in other posts.