By Dr Guy Ashburner, Osteopath www.osteogoodhealth.com
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
– Thomas A. Edison
There has never been a better time than right now to live well, strengthen your body and make intelligent lifestyle choices. It becomes clear that maintaining the immune system is the key to maintaining health and longevity. Choosing to prioritise your health and boost your immune system is a challenging but worthwhile task. Many factors inhibit a body’s natural self-healing functions. We do know that your body needs adequate high-quality sleep, healthy foods, and exercise. The lifestyles many of us lead tend to increase the acidity in the body and therefore make way for disease and poor health. Stress and poor diet or an acidic diet can tip the pH balance of the body from alkaline, past neutral into the acidic zone. Re- search shows that unless the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself. Osteopaths strive to help patients not only achieve good musculoskeletal and neurological health but we help them reach overall optimal health.
Your immune system is constantly defending the body against attack by all sorts of pathogens (anything than can cause disease) ranging from viruses to bacteria, parasites and toxins. From the time we are born, our bodies’ natural defence mechanisms are actually made stronger as we come into contact with an array of many microbes (germs). Your immune system is constantly adapting, which is why human beings have been around for so long. It’s important to note that not all bacteria and viruses cause infections. Once your body comes in contact with a foreign substance, it attacks it and remembers it. If it comes back, your body knows what to do. An antibody is a protective protein produced naturally by the body’s immune system in response to antigens (harmful substances). The purpose of antibodies, are to identify antigens, latch on to them and disable/destroy these substances, so that they can’t make you sick. Antigens include bacteria, fungi, para- sites, viruses, chemicals, toxins, and other substances the immune system identifies as foreign.
Awareness of chemicals we are exposed to and the effect on our physiology, and potential detriment they are capable of causing you or your family, through direct contact, absorption through your food, air, or water or medication, is very important to your health. Observations in humans and animal studies have clearly demonstrated that a number of environmental and industrial chemicals can adversely affect the immune system. Alteration in the immune system may result in either immunosuppression or exaggerated immune reaction. Sometimes the body mistakenly identifies normal tissues as foreign and produces antibodies against the tissue. This is called autoimmunity.
Osteopathy (founded in 1874 by Dr A.T.Still) has long utilised techniques to boost immune function by helping stimulate the lymphatic system–your body’s system that eliminates waste, toxins and other unwanted sub- stances. The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels and organ tissue (lymph nodes, thymus and spleen) which serves as the pathway for lymph to work and travel, carrying components of the immune system. It’s important to have it functioning well. The lymphatic system can be blocked by mechanical obstructions like muscle spasm, fascial distortion and joint hindrance, as well as affected by other metabolic conditions. The nervous system travels through and out from the spine. When there’s a misalignment present, it may have a negative impact on the physiological nervous system’s communication to the many parts of the body it supplies. When an osteopath articulates and increases mobility of a spinal joint, it aims to restore mobility and therefore function. Since the nervous system automatically regulates our health control mechanisms, encouraging normal spinal mobility aims to support normal health enabling the whole system to work better.
Osteopathic care offers so much more than just helping you to relieve pain.