Viruses are zombie pirates
You read that right! In spite of being the namesake of our multiplication phrase “going viral”, viruses can’t multiply – unless they hijack the cell machinery of a living host. Thus, they are zombie pirates, invading, taking over the faculties of a living cell, and killing for the sake of their own replication. You see, it takes very special cellular equipment to reproduce genetic material – every time you make a new layer of skin, for example, your amazing cells do it seamlessly using a well-coordinated and complex array of enzymes and internal factories. But viruses are impoverished in this arena. So they cut a hole through a cell membrane, dump their manufacturing instructions into the cell and, like a pirate takes over a ship, the viral blueprint commandeers the cell machinery into making gazillions of more viruses. The swollen cell then ruptures, spewing viruses, so that even more cells - and more victims - are infected. The fever and mucus that accompany an infection is the body’s way of trying to destroy the pirates, but as we’ve already noted, it’s hard to “kill” something that was never alive. Dying cells emit protein signals, like a ship uses flag (or radio) signals, to surrounding healthy cells telling them to shut down operations in order to save themselves. They also call for the Immune System's rescue fleet. Once deployed, the rescue fleet will increase blood flow, up the heat, send in specialized protein chevaliers and eventually send out the Killer Cell "big guns". Sadly, all this necessary rescue operation creates really miserable symptoms.
As a reflexologist, my first thought goes to the energetic Pathways that can boost the body’s own natural defenses in the throat and nose, the main gateway for respiratory viruses to enter the body.
Free at-home practice #1: Lion pose for back of throat
IF YOU CANNOT KNEEL, you can still do the technique by placing your hands on the back of a chair and leaning slightly forward with your weight on your hands, or sit in a chair with your hands on your knees and lean slightly forward.
Free at-home practice #2: Reflexology points for sinuses and throat
Although reflexology is traditionally performed on the feet I will demonstrate first on the hands as they are easier to reach by the majority of people working on themselves. (Apologies for the audio glitches. I think you will still understand)
Free at-home practice #3: Reflexology to Activate lymph flow
Free at-home practice #4: Drink Water
Water is the main component of lymph, the fluid of the immune system that fights infection, strains out destroyed pathogens, and helps get immune cells like Natural Killer cells recycled.
You cannot properly protect your mucus membranes without adequate water.
Dr Batmangehelidj, who wrote Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, treats many ailments with water as a first resort and refers to water itself as an essential nutrient, not just a solution for vitamins and minerals to float around in. Body parts and individual organs can go into their own individual state of “thirst” and when one part – say a lymph system that is busy flushing viruses – needs more, the body will take it from somewhere else, potentially creating a crisis elsewhere.
Water in contact with living cell membranes exists in an entirely different state… not liquid, solid or steam, but a completely differently-structured state that researcher Gerald Pollack calls the fourth phase of water. It is vital, not just for “flushing things out” but also as part of the vast communication network between body parts, as a glue or mortar that holds cells together, and as a manager of protein shape and function (think of the protein signals sent out about invading zombie pirates). Water that is already in contact with cellular membranes would go into the body pre-structured. Freshly juiced or extracted vegetables would be an example of this, and drinking them - along with the rest of your water supply of course - can speed up the absorption and usability of the your total intake.
I’m sure you’ve heard that the ideal water intake is ½ ounce for every pound of body weight. During this virus crisis, it's recommended that we sip warm or room temperature water about every 15 minutes, rather than guzzling several ounces whenever we happen to remember. Beyond the internal need for water for health, the throat is likely the first thing attacked by an airborne virus. By sipping on water frequently, viruses that have entered the mouth and throat can be washed down into the stomach where stomach acid will kill them.
For this reason, I have speculated that chewing gum may also keep viruses from taking hold in the throat because of an increase in swallowing.
Free at-home practice #5: Grounding
I’d love to go on and on, but for now, I simply urge you to take up the practice of standing, walking or sitting on the ground without shoes. Even one minute will improve your wellness markers and every additional minute will do even more. In the current crisis, I am determined to get out more. You need to have skin-to-ground contact with bare earth, grass, or natural water sources such as lakes or streams. In a pinch, a cement sidewalk will work, especially if it’s wet, but asphalt or a wooden deck will not. Sitting or laying on the ground is even better. Even if you refuse to take off your shoes or sit on the wet ground, just being in nature will get you in contact with the earth’s electrical field to some degree. And if you cannot get outside, consider one or more of the earthing products at www.earthing.com.
Free at-home practice #6: High Quality Rest
Whether our bodies are already fighting or simply preparing for an invasion of “zombie pirates,” the importance of quality rest, sound sleep, and a peaceful mind can’t be overstated. Stress is the number one contributing factor of illness in this country. Since most of us are under stay-at-home orders right now anyway, let’s utilize the down-time effectively. If you aren’t working, sleep in or take naps if possible. If you are working, especially in a job that exposes you to the public, use as much of your days off as possible getting extra rest.
When you rest, focus on Quality as much as Quantity. Watching the news from your recliner is not rest. Your body may be reclined but your mind is stressed to the max. Studies have shown that simply watching or hearing about someone else’s stress – even if it’s fiction – causes the same reaction in your body as if you were going through it yourself. So playing harsh video games, watching tense movies or listening to coronavirus Facebook videos is not rest and is in fact potentially depleting your immune reserves.
Reading (for pleasure) on the other hand actually has been shown to lower stress markers. So has journaling or writing letters in long-hand, having quiet, empathetic conversations, and simply letting your mind wander. Listening to any music you enjoy is restful, but then listening to birds or running water creates an even greater calm in the body than either listening to music or being in silence. Being near any kind of water, weather ocean, pond, or bathroom shower likewise lowers stress markers. Grounding (see #5 above) definitely produces quality rest – and sound sleep. The reflexology techniques I showed you also will promote a de-stress, restful response.
Just for fun, consider the picture of the girl reading above. How many restful, healthful, immune boosting activities that have been mentioned in this article is she engaging in?
Click here for next blog on lower respiratory reflexes