Self-healing isn’t only a futuristic concept from sci-fi narratives – our bodies really do care for themselves. Our organs are constantly filtering blood to keep our hearts pumping while our immune system stands guard against any harmful invaders. Still, there are factors that can make the healing process more difficult, including, but not limited to, stress, dehydration, and lack of movement.
Bodies are designed to repair themselves, but sometimes we need to give them a helping hand. Implementing a few small, everyday changes can have a large and lasting impact on your body’s ability to recover and thrive. Read on to discover how you can help heal your body.
Relaxation combats excess inflammation
Studies show that saying no to stress can have long-term benefits for healing at the cellular level. Dr. Darshan Mehta, medical director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, told Harvard Health Publishing, “when you elicit the relaxation response, you secrete beneficial hormones and reduce the activity of harmful genes.” These genes include those responsible for the inflammatory processes behind ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and even the inflammation of blood vessels. Over time, the effects of inflammation can lead to a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and possibly cancer.
Fortunately, Dr. Mehta and his colleagues at the Benson-Harry Institute have found that the relaxation response in the body tends to “turn off” these harmful genes, healing many of the negative effects of inflammation. To trigger the relaxation response, Dr. Mehta recommends spending ten to twenty minutes a day in a meditative-like practice, such as focused breathing, repetitive prayer, or guided imagery. As inflammation dies down, the body’s self-healing processes can get back to work.
Vitamin C is crucial
If you want to help your body heal, vitamin C is always a good idea. This versatile vitamin is available in a variety of forms and can help with numerous natural processes in the body. The U.S. National Institutes of Health note that vitamin C is needed for the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters and proteins, including the all-important collagen. It also contains antioxidant properties, which help the body produce and absorb nutrients, and may even slow the growth of some cancers. Antioxidants are also important in protecting your cells from the damage they’re likely to sustain over time.
The NIH lists fruits and vegetables as the most efficient sources of vitamin C, but there are also supplements available, ranging from ascorbic acid, the NIH’s recommended source of vitamin C, to multivitamins. It’s never a bad idea to double-check with your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet, but if you make a note to include vitamin C in your routine, your body is sure to thank you.
Let your lungs heal themselves
Antioxidants are very powerful and can be helpful all around the body. The American Lung Association recommends a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for optimal respiratory performance, as well as regular exercise and access to clean air. This means avoiding pollution whenever possible, quitting smoking of any kind (including vaping), and taking precautions to clean the air in your home or office. An air purifier will do the trick, but even a good dusting and vacuuming can make a difference. Once the lungs are no longer exposed to pollutants, they will begin to heal completely on their own – no detox required.
Sleep is prime time for healing
Although the act of drifting off to sleep seems restful and still, the reality is anything but. During that time, the body and brain are busy at work.
Carl W. Bazil, MD, Ph.D., a Professor of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells TODAY that the electrical activity of the brain is so active during deep sleep because of the nerve rewiring that’s taking place. This is how we process and remember the information we learned from the prior day and just one reason why sleep is essential to helping the body and brain heal themselves.
Bazil also warns against dismissing that extra hour of sleep. Even a few days of poor rest can add up, causing brain function to deteriorate quickly. The body can suffer too: during sleep is when our muscles repair themselves and growth hormones (responsible for skin regeneration as well as bone and hair growth) multiply.
Lacking in any one of these essential categories is sure to make self-healing much more difficult. The body knows what it needs and how it can care for itself, but it’s still our responsibility to make sure that we are giving our bodies the best opportunities to thrive. If you’re not sure where to begin, a quick chat with a medical professional can help get you on track toward your healthiest self.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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