"The microbe is nothing, the milieu is everything!" This quote probably comes from Antoine Béchamp, a French physician, chemist and pharmacist who lived in the 19th century. His counterpart at the time, Louis Pasteur, on the other hand, claimed the exact opposite. He focused on the pathogen rather than the host as far as the development of disease was concerned. On his deathbed, however, he is said to have finally agreed with Béchamp. Ultimately, however, the truth is probably to be found in the middle, as is so often the case.
Therefore, with all the preventive measures coming out of the laboratory, the effectiveness of which I neither can nor want to judge, it is certainly also a good idea to strengthen the environment to make it as uncomfortable as possible for a virus. In addition, good health care supports confidence in one's own self-efficacy. Being self-reliant with one's health is also helpful in terms of fear of infection. Someone who knows they have taken good care of their immune system is more likely to be able to relax than someone who has abdicated responsibility to the outside world and just hopes everything will go well.
In order to strengthen the immune system some measures are substantial, and in their effect not to underestimate. On the one hand a moderate sporty load is important. Exercise in oxygen balance, i.e. in the fresh air, plays a major role. For example, walks in the forest ("forest bathing") have a blood pressure-lowering, cardiovascular-stabilizing and stress-relieving effect due to the terpenes produced by trees, which are absorbed through the breath and skin. The regulating effect on the nervous system through forms of movement such as yoga, tai chi and qi gong is also important to mention here. Cold therapy in the form of alternating showers or ice bathing is also an effective approach, as are sauna sessions.
Nutrition and sleep
In addition to a healthy diet that creates an alkaline environment in the body through a high proportion of fruits and vegetables, there is also one factor that should not be underestimated: our sleep. If we don't get enough restful sleep, no matter how well we eat and how much we exercise: a truly stable state of health cannot be achieved. In fact, it has fatal effects on our health if we disregard this aspect. Those who do not sleep well have to deal with the following manifestations: Listlessness, decreased alertness, increased appetite, faster skin aging, decrease to loss of libido, weakened immune system, 50% higher risk of obesity, 33% higher risk of developing dementia, 3-5 years reduced life expectancy, 300% increased likelihood of colds, increased likelihood of heart disease, permanent brain damage, decreased stress resilience, weakened willpower, etc.
In contrast, a good night's sleep may save us a lot of money on expensive therapies and medications, has been proven to be more effective than meditation, provides self-confidence, a good mood, an attractive appearance, and strengthens discipline, memory, concentration and creativity. It is also the basis for experiencing flow states more often, which have a positive, rejuvenating effect on the entire organism. Accordingly, we can say that it is the most effective lever, the turbo booster so to speak, as far as our health is concerned.
We go through several sleep cycles during sleep. Each cycle is composed of three sleep phases: light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep. If we wake up in the morning in the light or REM sleep phase, we can usually start the day well rested. However, when the alarm clock rings in deep sleep, we can hardly get out of bed. It therefore makes sense to use a sleep calculator to see when the optimal time to fall asleep is if we have to get up at a certain time in the morning. And it makes even more sense to sleep in as often as possible. If you're still sitting in front of your laptop in the evening, you can get a pair of glasses that filter out the blue light. But one of the most effective ways to get a good night's sleep is to turn off all screens two hours beforehand. If you want to support your body in calming the nervous system and producing the sleep hormone melatonin, you can help your body, mind and soul to calm down with Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga or Yoga Nidra.
If you take all this to heart, you will certainly create an environment that makes it difficult for diseases to take root. But most importantly, it will make you feel good. And that is also an important factor for strong defenses.
Text: Ranja Weis
Images: Yesim Yuva, Lena Fuchs