Do you have any of the following symptoms?
- Susceptibility to catching colds.
- Difficulty recovering from colds or infections. For example, if you catch a cold does it frequently develop into a sinus infection, ear infection, bronchitis, gastritis, or some other lingering problem?
- Chronically swollen lymph glands in the neck, armpit or groin.
- Poor digestion, gas, bloating, bowel problems.
- Allergies or asthma.
- Autoimmune diseases: There are hundreds of known autoimmune disorders. Some of the more common ones I encounter include: celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, thyroid disorders such as Graves disease, interstitial cystitis, lupus, Lyme disease, Meniere’s disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Raynaud’s syndrome, restless legs syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
- Connective tissue disorders. Many connective tissue diseases feature abnormal immune system activity with inflammation in tissues as a result of an immune system that is directed against one’s own body tissues (autoimmunity). Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), scleroderma and ankylosing spondylitis are examples of connective tissue disorders. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is also an autoimmune disorder. In osteoarthritis, chronic inflammation causes breakdown, and the eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are still not well understood by Western medicine. Many people who suffer from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia have associated autoimmune disorders*. In my clinical experience, balancing the immune system is an essential component of treatment for these patients.
- Injuries that don’t heal. This is a big problem, which is often overlooked. Even if you don’t have an established disorder such as arthritis, do you suffer from injuries that heal slowly and cause repeated problems? For example: do you keep spraining your ankle? Or do you have a shoulder injury that keeps acting up? Chronic tendonitis, weak knee ligaments and similar problems are strongly indicative of an imbalanced immune system. Scars and adhesions that don’t heal also point to an immune imbalance. Weakened connective tissue caused by an imbalanced immune system can make organs more prone to prolapse, and herniations more likely to occur (herniated intervertebral disks as well as inguinal hernias).
- Lastly, if you’ve tried everything for your disease or complaint, and you are still not getting better, an immune system imbalance is often the culprit.
Occasionally, a new patient suffering from an autoimmune disorder asks me if acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine may have an adverse affect by strengthening their immune system, when their immune system is already overactive. Cancer patients, RA patients, and others who take immune suppressing medications may have the same concern. Acupuncture and properly administered Chinese Herbal Medicine do not crank up an immune system that is already in overdrive. Instead, the treatments are regulatory. It calms what is hyper or overactive (Yang) and nourishes essential substances (Yin) of the body which may have become depleted due to the effects of the disease or medications. Restored to a state of balance, your immune system will start acting more appropriately.
Here is a list of autoimmune diseases.
And, here is a list of immunodeficiency diseases.