Here at PLUNGE, we’re all about health and wellness, and a big part of that is the immune system. Your immune system is your body’s main defense against harmful invaders, which is especially important in the colder months when germs seem to be their most abundant. While your immune system won’t be able to keep away all germs and illnesses, there are things you can do to boost it to be at its best performance!
There are the typical things we’re told to do to improve our immune system - take your vitamins, exercise, eat right, etc. but have you ever wondered if there’s anything else you can do?
Fortunately, there are many more exciting ways that can help boost your immunity so that it can do its job as efficiently as possible. Keep reading for 7 surprising ways to boost your immune system naturally!
1. Use a Sauna
The sauna is a great way to warm up and sweat out toxins. Sweating is an essential part of your immune system because as you sweat, your immune system gets rid of any harmful chemicals that may have built up. A sauna session will also improve circulation, which helps to nourish and heal tissues in the body. Finally, the concentrated heat from a sauna has been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body by circulating oxygen-rich blood, which makes it a great way to keep away infection-causing bacteria or viruses.
There are many different types of saunas you can try including traditional, dry, steam, or infrared saunas which you can find at a spa or gym or you could even invest in one for personal at-home use. If these don’t seem like viable options right now, try using a hot shower to create some steam in your bathroom for a DIY at-home sauna.
For maximum immune-boosting, we recommend trying hot and cold therapy (aka contrast therapy) by combining a sauna with an ice bath.
2. Laugh It Out
Researchers have found that laughing has an abundance of benefits including boosting your immunity, lowering stress hormones, preventing heart disease, easing anxiety, tension & stress, and even strengthening resilience. This is because laughter not only releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in boosting your mood and controlling your appetite, but it also increases the body’s endorphin production, aka the feel-good chemical that can also temporarily relieve pain.
So, whenever you need a mood or immune boost, call up a friend or put on your favorite comedy show and have a good laugh!
3. Do Cold Water Immersion Daily
If you want to keep your immune system in tip-top shape long, you should do cold water immersion every day (or as many times a week as you can).
Cold water immersion (or ice bathing) has many benefits which includes stimulating leukocytes - the white blood cells that help fight off sicknesses. The cold detoxifies your body and boosts your immune system by causing your lymphatic system to contract which forces fluid through your lymph nodes.
Besides building your immunity, ice baths also elevate your energy, support recovery, boost your mood, provide pain relief, and provide mental health and pain relief.
4. Brush Your Body
Dry brushing is a great way to stimulate your lymphatic system (aka the network of pathways inside your body that can help support your immune system and keep you in top shape). It’s important to remember that our lymph nodes are located all over our bodies, so it’s good to brush it on a regular basis. It’s recommended to dry brush your body no more than once or twice a week.
Dry brushing (or “effleurage” if you want a new word for scrabble or to impress your friends), removes dead skin cells which prevents skin infection and it encourages production of vitamin C, which simulates lymphatic detoxifying.
How to dry brush: Use a natural fiber brush and brush in long, smooth, upward strokes starting at your feet and moving up. Afterwards, take a shower to remove any dry skin and moisturize with some lotion to encourage even more lymphatic circulation.
A shower will also help soothe any tight muscles or stiffness from using the brush too vigorously. If you need extra relief from muscle soreness or slight skin irritation, consider taking an ice bath, which can be beneficial for dry and/or irritated skin.
5. Play a Musical Instrument
You probably know that music can have a soothing and uplifting effect, but did you know that actually playing music can have the same effect plus boost your immunity?
According to research from 2016, a group that drummed together for 10 weeks experienced long-term decrease in depression, increase in social resilience, and improved anti-inflammatory immune response greater than that of a non-music control group.
When you play a musical instrument on a regular basis, you’ll build up your hand strength and dexterity while also stimulating your heart rate, respiration, and blood flow. These factors can all help improve your immunity because they increase circulation to different parts of the body that are important for fighting off pathogens. The increased heart rate and oxygen supply will give your immune system more energy than it would be able to produce on its own.
Additionally, when you play an instrument on a regular basis, it can help reduce stress levels and feelings of anxiety. You don't have to be the next Beethoven though, you can just play around and have fun with it. If you’ve never played an instrument, consider starting with a recorder or a small xylophone - something simple.
6. Write Expressively
A few years ago, researchers discovered that penning down your thoughts and feelings can help you stay healthy. There’s evidence of this in scientific studies which showed that writing about personal experiences had a positive influence on people’s health and well-being even if those events were stressful.
When you write about your experiences, it helps to release pent up emotions and allow self-reflection which relieves stress and improves mood. The body uses these positive emotions to boost its natural defenses against invaders. Other research found that expressive writing can also reduce blood pressure, lessen insomnia, improve liver function, and shorter hospital stays.
Sitting down with a journal or notebook is an easy way to express yourself about what's going on in your life whether it’s for a minute or for an hour.
7. Get Outside and Garden
Gardening can help boost your immune system in a variety of ways. First, it increases the level of nutrients and vitamins in your body, which is an essential aspect for healthy functioning. Gardening also helps to reduce stress levels, which can be harmful to your immune system.
Additionally, gardening allows you to enjoy time outdoors and get some vitamin D from the sun which helps the immune system by boosting the production of microbe-fighting proteins in addition to strengthening the bones, controlling infections, reducing inflammation and even reducing cancer cell growth.
Boost Your Immune System With A Cold Plunge
Don’t get caught off guard by colds, flus, and other illnesses this fall or winter - set up your immune system for the long-term and start taking ice baths today! Ice baths not only boost your immune system, they also reduce fatigue & recovery time, improve alertness & energy, and treat muscle & joint soreness, strain, and inflammation. Invest in your health with a Plunge - our revolutionary cold plunge tub that helps you transform your health and recovery.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE COPY of our cold plunge protocols that will help you in your cold exposure journey whether you're a beginner or an experienced cold plunger.