A few days ago, I woke up with a little tickly feeling in my upper chest. It’s spring, and the pollens are in full force, so I presumed I was having a little rare allergic response. On the East Coast of the US I used to suffer from hay fever, and though I rarely have anything here in the UK, I was aware that I had not been as perfectly strict in my gluten-free dairy-free diet… I had had a bit of alcohol to drink in celebration… I had compromised the ideal circumstances for my body to respond to the environment optimally.
Thinking it was allergies, I cooled it with the casual eating/drinking, and went about my business.
Unfortunately, the tickly feeling was a bug. Since there was no acheyness or sore throat, I didn’t catch it until I was properly in it’s clutches – lethargy, cough, and that agitated upper respiratory track.
Normally, I would have hit back hard at the first sign: Source Naturals Wellness Formula, a ton of garlic, and water water water and I can usually clear it.
Once I’m down, though, I require a different protocol of care. A client of mine asked me to share some of my self-care gems last week… so here’s my immune self-care regime, preventatives and restoratives alike. Holed up here on a rainy day in London, it seems like a good moment to share my holistic healing ways.
1. Bedrest: This is my highest preventative as well. AND it’s absolutely necessary when I’m down. Pushing through, I have learned the hard way, is not a smart move. I know I’ve added a day onto this thing by teaching a couple of classes under this bug. Now: bed, until I feel bright again.
2. Broth: Back before I was super busy, if a pal of mine was sick, I would turn up with an organic chicken and make a soup. I am an advocate of bone broth as a great restorer of strength. There are many potent healing broth recipes out there for the vegetarian as well. This time, I had just roasted a guinea fowl for my mom for USA Mother’s Day, so she took care of me by whipping up a beautiful stock with the bones. We added carrots, kale, lovage, sprouted rice, and enough black pepper to add a little kick. It’s superb; between the love that it’s made with, and the ingredients – it’s a superfood. The restuarant Shoryu in Soho has a bone broth soup (tonkotsu) that they call ‘Dracula’ because they add chipped raw garlic to it. Last time I felt something coming on, I ran downstairs between classes at triyoga soho and knocked that bug on it’s ear in 20 minutes flat. Sluuuurp.*
3. Fresh turmeric, black pepper, lemon and honey: careful not to spill as it will stain. Trumeric is a great anti-inflammatory root that is also a great anti-oxidant. Wonderfully, fresh turmeric seems to be available at all the health food shops in London at the moment. Long may this be the case! I’m a bit uptight about my white quilt in my bedroom, so it’s raw chestnut honey with lemon and hot water for me at the moment. Very soothing. Putting your own hands and your own love into a remedy is part of it’s potency. Bless your work with love as you make it.
3. Energy Healing: This one is preventative as well, but is extremely helpful if you have already been knocked out by a bug. A lot of times (like, almost always, I tend to think) these things have roots in subtle imbalances, emotional distress, and/or chronic exhaustion – and good energy healing, delivered by a qualified and experienced practitioner, is a great way to address all of these concerns. The healing modality I am trained in – Vortex Healing – has an infections protocol that is fantastic for ‘burning out’ bugs. This afternoon, the wonderful Claudia Ruckert, has been working on me. I also go to Daisy Nokes for this work. Pretty much any time I feel exhausted, I get a good energy tune up from one of these ladies.
4. Smudging/Space cleansing: If the smoke bothers you, you can use a hydrosol, but I recommend doing something to cleanse the space where you are at rest while unwell. I have used both Palo Santo and Sage this time. Since the weather is clement, I have also kept the garden door open for fresh air (while keeping myself warm under blankets as necessary, of course.)
5. Avoiding the Weakeners: Sugar/Wheat/Dairy/Heavy Foods/Alcohol; In case this isn’t obvious, I include it. It was a dietary imbalance that got me where I am today, I am pretty sure!
6. Eucalyptus: Essential oil, straight on my chest. Regular application. Very soothing for the respiratory function. If I’m stuffed up, I fill a bowl with hot water, add a few drops, put my face close to the water, and cover it with a towel. I love a home-made face sauna and it has helped me immensely at stuffed up moments.
7. Beauty: This one might not be so obvious, but it has raised my spirits to be wearing my favourite nightie. If I have to be in bed during the day, feeling sub-par, I at least can be wearing something I like and feel good in. I am also wearing a favourite necklace. I made sure I made my bed up nicely before I got back into it. I believe in the healing power of beauty. (Obviously if you are down with a fierce enough flu this one might go by the wayside).
8. Murti: ‘Murti’ means form in Sanskrit – it is the word used for those statues of the deities you see in yoga studios. My favourite murti, and certainly my most useful one, is my Amma doll. Blessed by the hugging saint Amma, dressed in fabric from one of her own saris, this doll was one of the smartest purchases I ever made. It’s so soothing and potent. Whenever anything hurts or is misaligned in my body, I lay at rest with the doll placed on that spot. She’s also amazing for any heartache or loss. You can utilise this doll like you would a crystal for healing and attunement. I travel with her and she helps me sleep. You can get these dolls online or wait until Amma is in town and get the doll blessed while you receive your darshan from Amma.
9. Meditate Anyway: When you are not well enough to sit up and ‘concentrate’, that’s no reason to skip meditation. This one’s from my teacher Paul Muller-Ortega, and I am so grateful for this vital wellbeing tip. Instead of doing your normal sitting meditation, do it supine or in a reclining position on loads of pillows or whatever you need to be comfortable. Meditation is excellent at bringing the body into harmony… why skip it just because sitting upright for 20 minutes is not on the menu today? Modify position and keep that practice up when you are feeling rough. Japa mantra practice is great too.**
10. Laughter: I have been trying to watch comedies and I called a comedian friend and he gave me a few laughs. I defs cracked more than average jokes in the class I taught. Keeping it holy with the laughter is a good one for healing.