Dr Ann Donnelly shares an article with us on the 4 pillars to immunity…
It’s 2021 & we are all seeking ways of making ourselves stronger. We are especially looking to build our immunity in the light of COVID-19. There is an enormous amount of information out there & it can be overwhelming. In the following article Dr Ann Donnelly aims to give you the building blocks to start you on a path to stronger immunity.Love
Divina Kate & the UK & EU MMS Team.
P.S You’re also welcome to join us online for Chi Do tonight @ 7.30pm!
We are all unique. Each body type will require a different approach therefore I recommend you make this one of your adventures on the road to knowing thyself. Find what works for you & continue to explore.
I am a firm advocate that disease comes from no one thing. Our world is so polluted from our environment, our conditioning, our thoughts & the genetic codes we have been dealt BUT remember! We are a Mystery School. We take what we have & we find the tools to create change. The definition of Magick is to change nothing into something & something into something else. Remember the tools you have & continue to use them!
Meanwhile, there are 4 pillars to immunity & each one has keys in it for you. I shall give pointers in each one but this is not exhaustive & please delve more as your body asks of you.
Pillar number one:
There are things that deplete the body’s defence mechanisms while there are others that enhance them. Please don’t mistake your cravings for things that are necessarily good!
A) SUGAR: there is limited but significant evidence to suggest that sugar (especially fructose, found in corn syrup) lowers immunity. It is suggested that as little as 75g can weaken the immune system & once the white cells are affected this can last up to 5 hours.
On average a cupcake has 46g sugar, a sports drink can have 35g of sugar, a low fat sweetened yogurt can have 47g of sugar. Many so-called ‘healthy’ snacks can have fructose in them. Read the labels, I suggest you carry a magnifying glass to the grocery store!
So I’m going to say something controversial. There has been a huge increase in baking during lock down. So, use your discernment! If sweet things bring you joy & relieve stress then weigh up the pros & cons for you! Just remember, taking a diet which is consistently high in sugar is not good on many levels in the longer term. Exert balance in all things.
If you want to make one change, have one completely sugar free day a week.
B) HYDRATION: Water content of the body varies with age & if you have been medically advised to limit your intake adhere to the guidance of your physician. Otherwise hydration is super good for your immunity. It is important for the movement of lymph which carries our fighter cells around the body. It is important to help carry nutrients to organs & carry waste away. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ amount to drink daily. This will vary according to the amount of exercise you do, the environment you live in, the amount of caffeine you drink & the amount of alcohol you consume. Hydration includes filtered still water & non caffeinated herbal teas. 6-8 glasses of water a day is a good ballpark. Consider adding a glass for every cup of caffeinated tea & up to two glasses for each cup of coffee or unit of alcohol.
There is a lot of talk about water fasting. Take care when considering this & seek medical guidance if you plan to do this for more than one day at a time. One day can help in breaking cycles of sugar cravings.
If you want to make one change, try substituting one caffeinated drink with a glass of water daily.
C) EAT FRESH WHERE POSSIBLE: All processed food & most take away food has either added sugar, salt, MSG or other additives. Where possible, eat fresh & now is time to experiment with new recipes. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 25years & recently experimented with Vegan recipes. I used:
Founders of ‘The Happy Pear’ have teamed up with a gastroenterologist & nutritionist to create a 6 week course filled with tips on a Vegan diet plus 20 minute easy to prepare, tasty recipes. Please remember that strict Vegan diets require supplements especially Vitamin B12 & Omega 3. This is explored during the course. My fridge became even more colourful & the change was approachable.
If this doesn’t appeal to you, try increasing your daily intake of citrus fruits, berries (blue are packed with vitamin C), green vegetables (broccoli, spinach) & ginger.
Of course, supplies in shops vary at the moment & not everyone wants to be Vegan so do what is right for you. .
If you want to make one change, add one extra green vegetable to your dinner each day.
D) SUPPLEMENTS: Lets keep this simple. Each of our requirements are different. It is widely accepted now that those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere are Vitamin D deficient. Depending on where you look you will find differing recommendations on dose. This is due to an incomplete understanding of the biology & clinical implications of Vitamin D. Currently there are a number of world wide trials looking at the effectiveness of Vitamin D (at very high dose) in patients with COVID-19. The Endocrine Society states that adults ‘might’ need 37.5 to 50mcg (1500-2000 IU) daily & children at least 25mcg (1000IU) daily. In contrast the UK government suggests 10mcg (400IU) daily for citizens of 4 years & over. This is based on what is healthy for bone & muscle but in Health food shops you will see much higher doses which are generally aimed at boosting our low levels in the Northern Hemisphere. In the USA the recommended daily dose is higher. The medical advice on vitamin D will be slow to change until there are randomised controlled trials to support the change.
Again dosing is individual. Choose what is right for you.
Further to this, Zinc has also been widely advocated. The dose varies with your age, gender & whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is easier to get zinc from a balanced diet than it is to get Vitamin D from diet so if in doubt consult your nutritionist.
Vitamins & minerals are important for all body functions, & if you require a more detailed exploration consider consulting a nutritionist.
Meanwhile if you wish to make one change, take a daily supplement of Vitamin D3 if you live in the Northern Hemisphere!
Pillar number 2:
Don’t you just LOVE the fact that we are all different! If we were all ‘perfect’ carbon copies of each other how boring would it be?
Likewise different body types require different exercise approaches. the basic principle is ‘use it or lose it!’ This is particularly important for the elderly who have been shielding during COVID-19. I see this phenomenon over & over in hospitals where bedrest causes increased frailty. Of course sometimes there is an inevitable decline in someone’s overall condition but where possible, patients are quickly encouraged to move again. Research suggests that one can lose up to 3% of muscle mass from the thighs after 7 days in bed. In order to prevent this nutrition (especially protein intake) & exercise are important. Think how long you spend in front of the computer daily!
A) STRENGTH BUILDING: Take an example of a push up where you use your chest, arm & shoulder muscles. One rep creates a new stress on your working muscles causing micro-tears. The body cleverly works to repair & rebuild & as a result the muscles become bigger & stronger. A leaner body burns up calories more & helps us continue to lose weight easier.
B) WALKING/HIKING : In many countries where social distancing remained active walking was encouraged & this has been vital to combat depression & stay active. A study of over 1000 men & women who walked at least 20 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week had 43% less sick days than those who exercised less than 2 days a week. Also when they did become sick their symptoms were both milder & were of shorter duration.
C) HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): Here exercise is performed for a set time (20-60 seconds) as hard as you can & then resting for the same amount of time. Compared to slow & steady this increases heart rate intensely but a typical work out lasts 15-20 minutes in total. It releases high dose endorphins which help us feel really good. Prolonged high intensity exercise can reduce our defences Appropriate levels for your body type is important.
D) YOGA: Yoga is well known for its stress relieving qualities & its use of breath work. Learning to breathe fully using the complete Yogic breath is invaluable in terms of oxygenation of the blood & opening up the lower lungs which are normally only utilised during strenuous exercise. If for any reason strenuous exercise is not possible learn to use the abdominal breath or the complete yogic breath. This helps ventilate & clear mucus from the lower airways where chest infections are more common.
Exercise has a major effect on the immune system. Moderate exercise is associated with decreased rates of influenza, pneumonia & other infections, as well as chronic diseases like diabetes.
One change: consider a daily 20 minute movement of some kind this week. Type 20 minute exercise into Google & choose what is right for you.
Pillar number 3:
Studies suggest those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus & to take longer to recover.
Everyone needs different quantities & this may vary throughout life. The average adult needs 7-8 hours while teenagers typically need 9-10 hours School children may need 10 or more. Interestingly sleeping more than what we need can lead to poorer quality sleep so it’s important to know what is optimal for you.
Cytokines are produced during sleep & these help our immunity while studies have shown that poor sleep reduces fighter cells.
How to improve sleep.
Go to bed & get up at the same time each day. While it’s hard to be precise this becomes more important for those with insomnia. A regular bedtime gives us time to wind down.
B) WIND DOWN:
A warm salt bath.
Gentle stretching exercises like yoga help unwind tight muscles (vigorous exercise has the opposite effect)
Relaxation in the form of progressive muscle relaxation exercises, listening to soft music, reading, and writing a to do list for the following day.
There are a number of APPs available to help sleep.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, heavy meals directly before bed.
Where possible make your bedroom the room you use for sleep (or sex). Unlike most vigorous exercise, sex is the only one that makes us sleepy.
Make your bedroom relaxing & enticing.
Keep it neat & tidy with no gadgets that you associate with brain stimulation like your TV, Games, Consoles.
It’s best dark & quiet. You can invest in eye pads or ear plugs where necessary.
Ventilation is important for some people but ideally the temperature can be kept around 18-24 degrees.
A comfortable bed is worth the investment if we spend 1/3 of our lives there.
If you wish to do one thing to improve sleep set an alarm 20-30 minutes before bedtime & create a bedtime routine that helps you wind down. Create a ritual that prepares you for restful sleep.
Pillar number 4:
Acute stress can increase our immune response while chronic stress has a deleterious effect on our immunity.
We are each subject to stress of different kinds & we each respond differently. The first thing to do is to recognise we are stressed & secondly to appreciate what triggers it. Sometimes it is difficult to change personal circumstances but we can always deal with the stress we experience by adhering to self care.
A) DEEP BREATHS: Breathe in for four, hold for four & out for four. The stress response involves adrenaline increasing pulse & respiratory rate & consequently increasing blood pressure The one thing you have immediate control over is your breathing. Slow deep breaths slow the heart rate & reassure the adrenal glands that things are ok.
B) TALKING: They say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Sometimes talking can help us see things differently instead of bottling up the story & the feelings the story produces. A trusted friend can really help.
C) EXERCISE: Exercise produces endorphins which make us feel good, while regular exercise builds our self confidence.
D) MEDITATION: A holiday for the mind. A break from overthinking on a regular basis builds resilience which lasts. Meditation not only helps regulate negative self talk but it also increases resilience in the face of challenges. Give it a try. The Modern Mystery School delivers regular free classes online.
E) HELP OTHERS: Make 2021 a year of kindness. Smile more, even behind a mask, your eyes & your energy are contagious. Pay anonymously for someone else’s parking coming behind you. Give a compliment. Listen fully. Send a card. Help out with a charitable organisation. Research shows that helping others makes us feel good.
F) COPING MECHANISMS: Where possible monitor your intake of smoking, alcohol, caffeine & sugar. They are generally proportional to the amount of stress you are under. These coping mechanisms will only make you unhealthy in the longer term whereas building healthy coping strategies will stand you in good stead for the future.
If you wish to do one thing, give meditation a go. It might surprise you!
It is my wish for you that you & your loved ones have a joy filled, fulfilling & healthy year ahead!
Happy New Year Everyone!
With my LOVE!
Dr Ann Donnelly MB MRCGP
Dr. Ann Donnelly’s Bio:
MB MRCGP DRCOG DFP DYT Dippallmed
Graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in Medicine in 1992. She is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She holds Diplomas in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, in Family Planning, in Palliative Medicine & in Yoga Teaching. She has Studied with the British Medical Acupuncture Society & the London Homeopathic Hospital. She is a NLP practitioner & an Emotional Freedom Therapy Advocate. She is a Facilitator for Advanced Communication Skills for health care professionals.
Dr Ann has also been instrumental in helping develop a Foundation Degree in her local North West Regional College in Holistic and Integrative Therapies in the Faculty of Science.
She is often consulted as a medical expert in the media including Yahoo, Cosmopolitan & Glamour.
Dr Ann began her studies in Metaphysics with the Modern Mystery School in 2006. She has graduated as a Life Activation Practitioner, a Healer & Guide. She is also an Ensofic Ray Practitioner & Fundamental Ensofic Reiki Teacher. Her studies have developed her understanding of the importance of ceremony in healing & she is an Egyptian Priestess & a Wiccan Priestess both in the Lineage of King Salomon. She is an International Teacher with the Modern Mystery School while continuing her studies as an Apprentice Universal Hermetic Ray Kabbalah Teacher.
She also serves as a Member of the Counsel of 12 women.