Dear Patients and Community: I have written up the notes from the March 24th video and you will find them here:
This is a summary and update of the video conference I gave on Tuesday, March 24th. First of all, thank you to all who participated, your feedback is valuable to guide further efforts. Plus, we miss seeing all of our friends and patients! I apologize for the technical failure at the end of the video conference, apparently that is not uncommon these days. I still don’t know whether it was a Zoom failure or an internet failure, probably an overload either way. We’ll try again soon. This is a summary of the remarks:
THE MAIN QUESTION: HOW DO WE STRENGTHEN OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS?
At this time there are no vaccines or other pharmaceutical interventions that can prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Your best strategy is to strengthen your own immune system. If you strengthen your immune system, you may not get sick at all even if exposed or if you do get sick your discomfort may be very mild.
There are two interconnected aspects to strengthening your immune system, mental (includes emotional) and lifestyle.
Since we are all still mostly OK physically (as of March 26, 2020), our fear is generated mostly by news reports. I did a post a few days ago on the preponderance of fear inducing words in the news reports. We should not ignore the news, but we need to balance the news with more positive thoughts.
Fear and panic suppress your immune system, while laughter and positive thoughts will strengthen it. Fear engages our “fight or flight” systems and during that time most of our energy goes to short term mental, to arms, and to legs: systems we would need for fight or flight. Since our energy is finite, energy goes away from our digestion, immune systems, and repair systems at that time. Likewise, feeling calm and happy engages our “repair and restore” systems and our bodies can heal or fight off diseases.
The yogic paradigm is to see the negative, see the positive, and then bring everything to neutral. The negative mind sees what can go wrong in any situation. This is very valuable; people who have weak negative minds do not see what can go wrong and often end up dead, severely injured or in bankruptcy. The positive mind sees what can go right in a situation and gives us our impetus to take action for our benefit. The neutral mind sees what can go right, what can go wrong and proceeds with an awareness of both. When we are in our neutral mind, our immune system is at its strongest.
What is happening is serious and we should be aware of it. Here is a recent news report on the track of the virus:
First the negative: New virus, spreading rapidly, we do not have normal immunity. Our present track as I write this is accelerating and doubling every three days or less. You can get plenty of the negative on the news… let’s put things in some perspective: Assume we maintain social distancing and are following the track of Italy (so far, we are growing faster than Italy in some of our states -New York in particular, so we may end up doing much worse). Sicknesses and deaths increase exponentially until about 3 weeks after strong control measures are instituted and then begin to level off. Anyway, Italy’s deaths will probably peak in early April and be declining or minimal by early May…we are about two weeks behind them so we should start leveling off by mid or late May (assuming we strengthen and do not relax social distancing). On this best track our expected number of deaths will be around 200,000 (less than 1 person per thousand). Without strong social distancing, our deaths could exceed 2,000,000 or even be much higher. Of course, these are just predictions based on past data but even the worst predictions call for less than three deaths per hundred people.
So, the positive is not that many deaths (you have a high chance of survival) and the situation won’t last forever. (Eventually there will be good treatment methods and a vaccine for prevention). In the meantime, many of you have much more free time and a much easier commute. As for the money, if you are healthy you can always make more money.
The neutral mind sees both of these at once and acts from a place of calm judgment. Be aware of the negative, enjoy the good fortune you still have, do what you can do, change what you can change, and be at peace.
LIFESTYLE—HOW TO STAY CALM?
THESE ARE SOME PRACTICES THAT OFTEN HELP: DRINK WATER. DO LONG DEEP BREATHING. GO FOR WALKS OUT IN NATURE (WHILE KEEPING YOUR SOCIAL DISTANCE). SUNSHINE IN GENERAL. YOGA AND MEDITATION. BE CREATIVE. LISTEN TO CALMING MUSIC. LATER, IN A FUTURE CONFERENCE, WE WILL TALK ABOUT EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE.
IN OTHER WORDS, WATCH LESS NEWS, AND DO MORE OTHER THINGS!!! (30 to 90 minutes of news per day should be more than enough to give you useful information, beyond that just over-energizes your fears and negative mind.)
THE OTHER PART OF STRENGTHENING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS DIET MODIFICATIONS. I DID A POST LAST WEEK AND HERE IS AN EXCERPT:
From my March 14th post: “The best protection we have is strengthening our immune systems. COVID-19 is caused by a virus that seems to thrive with “damp” internal conditions. Damp is a term in Chinese Medicine that refers to excess fluids of various thicknesses. Diet therapy can help a lot with the internal dampness.”
“First of all, avoid damp producing foods such as milk products, sugar, sweets (except fruit), and most grains, especially wheat. Rice seems to be OK.”
“On the plus side, you should eat much more garlic, onion, and ginger (either raw or cooked—raw is stronger but may be harder for you to digest). Aromatic herbs such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are good for dispersing dampness so herbal teas are also great as long as not too much milk.”
There were a few follow-up questions at the end that we did not get to:
1. Recipes for onion, garlic, and ginger: There are abundant onion/garlic/ginger recipes on the internet. Also I will send you some recipes from the ayurvedic traditions.
2. Calmness techniques: We will review Long Deep Breathing and other techniques next time.
3. What to do if you do get the COVID-19 virus: Western medical treatments are the best for acute conditions. Follow the directions of your Medical Doctor. Once you are past any crisis, more natural techniques can help restore your balance.
4. Please feel free to email DSK@KhalsaMedicine.com with any additional questions or comments.
I hope you found this helpful. Be Well!
Darshan Khalsa, L.Ac. ,Dipl. O.M.
Khalsa Integrative Medicine, LLC
11731 Bowman Green Drive
Reston, VA 20190