In part one of our Autoimmune Disease hacking series, we covered sleep hacking techniques, yoga tune up for stress relief, and Psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI) to help boost the immune system. Now we have three more Autoimmune Disease hacking techniques that we are excited to introduce to you! In this piece, we will be discussing cold water immersion (the benefits of this will blow you away), acupressure mats for pain relief and insomnia, and sound/music therapy (how our cells actually react to sound waves). We have some incredible information to share with you! These “autoimmune hacking” techniques can help with alleviating symptoms, pain, and associated stress with your autoimmune conditions. It is our hope that by following these techniques while nurturing your body with an autoimmune eating plan, you can be on the road to feeling much better!
1.Cold Water Immersion
Cold water immersion is just that. Immersing oneself into very cold water to “shock” the system. Many in the health community tout the benefits of this practice, and there may be some truth to it. Researchers found that cold water immersion had a positive effect on immunity, by increasing both the number of T lymphocytes, and the activity in those who were regularly exposed to cold therapy. The health of the immune system is critical when dealing with autoimmune conditions.
One autoimmune related condition that shows promising results from cold water immersion is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. According to this research,
“Recent advances in elucidating pathophysiology of this disorder revealed hypofunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and that fatigue in CFS patients appears to be associated with reduced motor neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS) and to a smaller extent with increased fatigability of skeletal muscle. There is also some limited evidence that CFS patients may have excessive serotonergic activity in the brain and low opioid tone.”
The researchers hypothesized that cold stress may reduce fatigue in CFS because brief exposure to cold may transiently reverse some physiological changes associated with this illness.. Cold stress has also been shown to reduce the level of serotonin in most regions of the brain, which would correlate with reduced fatigue. Finally, the researchers concluded: “exposure to cold increases metabolic rate and transiently activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as evidenced by a temporary increase in the plasma levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone, beta-endorphin and a modest increase in cortisol. The increased opioid tone and high metabolic rate could diminish fatigue by reducing muscle pain and accelerating recovery of fatigued muscle, respectively.”
Cold water therapy has also been studied as a possible treatment for depression! Depression often times comes along with autoimmune related struggles. According to this research, exposure to cold activates the sympathetic nervous system, thus increasing blood levels of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline. We have a large amount of cold receptors in the skin, and therefore a cold shower sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses to the brain, which may have an anti-depressive effect! These researchers found that cold hydrotherapy relieved depressive symptoms rather effectively. They also found a significant pain relieving effect as well!
2. Acupressure Mats
Often times people who struggle with Autoimmune conditions also experience stress, insomnia, and joint pain/swelling. Taking medications is not healthy for the gut, and will often times set people back when it comes to healing at the root cause. How can people relief the pain associated with inflammation and induce better sleep?
Acupressure is an ancient healing art. Releasing “pressure points” throughout the body in certain reflex locations will stimulate the release of blocked energy, as well as increase circulation. Traditional Chinese medicine indicates that acupressure therapy may induce sedation, thus helping people with insomnia to fall asleep without the need for medications or other sleep intervention.
Acupressure mats are an inexpensive way to release pain and pressure, as well as tight muscles. Acupressure mats are mats covered with tiny spikes to release thousands of acupressure points along the body. These points are designed to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism, releasing pain and bringing the body into balance. The spikes, which are very sharp, help to increase circulation to the area thus decreasing inflammation.
According to Modern Reflexology,
“Acupressure mats are completely natural and doesn’t cost you much. You need to just lay down on your acupressure mat for more than 20 minutes a day. Using an acupressure mat for more than 20 minutes a day will help your body to recover from muscle pains and back pains.”
If you can’t afford expensive machines or treatments, an acupressure mat might be just what you need to help induce quality sleep, increase circulation, and decrease pain associated with autoimmune conditions.
3. Sound Therapy
When we listen to music, it invokes particular feelings in us. Music can be relaxing or stimulating. It can change how we are feeling, depending on the pitch, vibrations, and tone. However, we are not only hearing music and vibrational sound with our ears. The cells in our body actually react to these sound frequencies, and research is now showing that sound can be used as a healing technique for people struggling with autoimmune conditions! The belief is that when people are are sick, or feeling depressed, they tend to vibrate at a lower frequency. When different frequencies such as drumming and chanting are used, the cells respond and the body begins to repair itself!
According to this research, natural killer cell activity (NK), and cytokine gene expression were analyzed against drumming, and a control group. The group that listened to the drumming demonstrated enhanced moods, lower gene expression levels of the stress induced cytokine interleukin-10, and higher NK cell activity when compared to the control. This indicates that music therapy is a promising method for alleviating stress and boosting the immune system (both of which are very important when dealing with autoimmunity)!
“Words and sounds are much more than just a method of communication. They are tangible forces that have a direct effect on our health and well being. The study of quantum physics shows that the human body and the entire universe is made up of tiny pieces of matter vibrating at certain frequencies and joined together by magnetic forces. Exposing the internal organs and brain to different musical frequencies will encourage them to heal from within, and sound therapy helps to raise the frequency of the human body promoting health, vitality and spiritual well being.” -read more
If you are having symptoms from Autoimmunity, the cells in your body may in fact respond to vibrational sounds. Try listening to some drumming, or various other music modalities as a form of relaxation and meditation. The cells in your body are listening and responding!
There are so many factors that contribute to Autoimmune Conditions, such as viruses, toxins, diet, sleep, stress, and many more factors. Changing your diet is just one of the many things you can do to start healing. Try out our autoimmune hacking techniques to help alleviate stress, pain, and induce better quality sleep. This way you are nurturing your mind, body, and spirit! -Happy Healing!