In addition to traditional aids for your immune system—like getting lots of sleep, focusing on whole foods, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats in your daily diet, and bridging any potential nutrient gaps by taking immune support nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc—alternative techniques such as massage, acupuncture and certain herbs can also help†
Massage therapy can help support your body’s defenses and help reduce stress
Acupuncture may also help support a healthy immune system
Certain traditional herbs like Ashwagandha, Elderberry, Ginseng, and Turmeric can provide benefits ranging from helping with fatigue and respiratory health, providing antioxidant support and supporting a healthy immune system†
Alternative Immune & Stress Supports
Beyond the circulatory system, the immune system includes parts of the digestive, endocrine, respiratory, and skeletal systems. For that reason, keeping the immune system in balance is important throughout life. As your body’s natural defense system, the immune system is designed to support every area of the body, acting as your first line of defense.
Unfortunately, the high-stress nature of modern society can adversely affect your sleep, stress, and immune health. That’s why alternative techniques and herb supplements make a great addition to traditional safeguards in your immune support and stress relief routines. From the effects of seasonal changes in diet to stress and even sleep, providing your body with nutrients that support your immune system should be a top priority for managing your good health. Among other things, that may mean supplementing with immune support nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. Another important consideration: Getting enough sleep is important in managing stress. So for help with occasional sleep support, consider Melatonin as a drug-free way to support restful sleep.†
You always feel better after a massage, don’t you? Knots have been undone, and lactic acid has been smoothed away by gentle hands. Not only does it make you feel great, but it might also help support your immune system response. One study showed the simple act of touch-focused care, even a simple five-minute hand or foot massage, helped to lower study participants’ perceived level of stress. Adding a massage to your lineup of precautionary measures could be just the thing you need to feel your best.
Acupuncture might seem a bit intimidating at first, but an increasing number of studies have shown that acupuncture treatment can help support the body’s immune response.Acupuncture is one of the world’s oldest health remedies, dating back thousands of years, so maybe our ancestors were on to something good when they discovered how to use it.
For centuries, people have used traditional herbs for their positive effects on the body. Here are some time-tested examples that may offer you immune and stress support.
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is a traditional herb long used as an adaptogen to help adapt to stressors and as a supplement, it offers daily support for stress and occasional anxiousness.†
Elderberry – Elderberry is a tart berry that contains anthocyanins, known for their antioxidant properties. Nature Made® Elderberry Gummies with Vitamin C and Zinc combine Elderberry extract with Vitamin C, an essential nutrient that supports a healthy immune response, and with Zinc, an essential mineral that provides immune and antioxidant support.†
Ginseng –Ginseng is an herb native to the forests of the United States traditionally used in herbal medicine to help increase energy and stress resistance. There are a few ways to get Ginseng in your diet: it is a popular ingredient found in many teas, or if tea isn't a favorite, you can supplement with Nature Made® Multi + Ginseng Capsules.†
Turmeric Curcumin – Made from the roots of the Curcuma longa plant, Turmeric is an Indian spice that’s become a popular herbal supplement due to its antioxidant benefits. The Curcumin in Turmeric is responsible for its vibrant yellow color and provides antioxidant activity that helps neutralize free radicals in the body. Out of various common spices, Turmeric has one of the highest antioxidant activities because of its active curcuminoids.†
The Bottom Line
The immune system, your body’s natural defense system, acts as your first line of protection. But high-stress modern society can adversely affect your immune health and interrupt healthy sleep patterns. Alternative techniques such as massage, acupuncture, and herbal supplements make great additions to your immune support and stress relief routine. Additionally, providing your body with nutrients that support your immune system, like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc, is crucial. Occasionally adding Melatonin as a drug-free sleep aid can help to support restful sleep. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider if you’re considering starting or changing your supplement routine.†
Amy has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a credentialed English teacher, though she left the classroom to write full time. She especially enjoys creating educational content about health, wellness, and nutrition. Her happy place is in the kitchen, and when not writing, you can find her trying out “kid-friendly recipes” and “healthy desserts for chocolate lovers” from her Pinterest board.
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.