Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Immunity & Health in a Post Covid World
Covid-19 has left a lasting mark on humanity and the way we used to think of our lives. Till the time the vaccines had not been developed, the world was talking about social distancing, lockdowns, frequent hand washing, isolation and boosting immunity.
To live and function in a world free of fear of contracting a disease, vaccinations are crucial, but let's not forget that vaccines are not medicines. They do not treat a disease, instead they are a novel way of making sure that your body learns to fight the disease, so that one day even if you contract it, your immune system can keep you safe.
Our immune system works round the clock in fighting diseases. For some, a strong immune system will not even allow a disease to cause any harm to the organs or tissues in our body. In the context of Covid-19, these are the asymptomatic Covid positive people. For some, the immune system can kick in a little later, fight the disease and win. While for the more unfortunate ones, the ones who have comorbidities (already known existing conditions that affect our immunity) or are immuno-compromised, winning over diseases is a battle that could even lead to a loss, a loss of life.
With every breath we take, food we eat, surfaces we touch we are battling foreign organisms for our survival. This is a continuous struggle and we keep winning because of our body's natural defence mechanism, our immunity.
To live without fear in a world, where Covid-19 is not going to go away, and there could be many more organisms like Ebola, Swine Flu and mutations of SARS viruses which will also co-exist, working on our immunity will help us live a more fulfilling life.
Our lives have been filled with modernism to such a great extent, that it's become a bit of a bull in a China shop scenario.We are engineering, reverse engineering and re-enginering everything we can get our hands on.
As a species, our intelligence is moving us further and further away from nature, the laws of nature that govern the systems that support life on our planet. Modernism is not to put as much time between today and what was, in a way that we forget what already existed, only so that we could reinvent it. The future of this mindless toying with science, technology and engineering could only be a planet which runs on artificial life support systems.
Nothing wrong with that, but some of us still think, if it was better for us to enjoy what nature has to provide for us, to live within the boundaries of universal nature, to enjoy our natural resources and use our intelligence in learning to live on this planet in harmony with the rest of the species.
What would it be like to be resourceful, not resource consuming. Is it modern intelligence that drove us to extract our limited reserves of fossil fuels over the last 50 years to provide us with mobility and power instead of harnessing the limitless renewable energy sources that were always around us? What does it take for us to be adaptive, as opposed to being pioneering? Like our fossil fuel fiasco, what other fiascos are we still engaged in? What will it take for us to also find time to go back to our roots and our primitive wisdom, to stop and look around us to find what is important for our future, as much as we remain in a hurry to surge ahead towards the modern.
There is more to learn from the ancient times about good health, wellness and immunity than from our modern day practices. There is a lot of learning that has been forgotten, that can be revived.
There are a lot of traditions that have withstood the test of time and hold the keys to life and longevity that we can still access. Like Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda.
The human body is not just flesh and bones. The force of life lies in our spirit. Our spirit is guided by our spirituality.
As a medical professional I cannot discount the fact that the human will to live, to heal and to carry on, shows up in thousands of examples around us all the time where people beat unbeatable odds to achieve life and continuity, while at the same time many of us just give up and even commit suicide. I do cure people, diagnose, give medicines, provide therapy and advise on diet and lifestyle. But by doing this, I give people access to something that allows them to become stronger in fighting their own battle.
I provide the means, the techniques, the environment and reinforcement of the willingness to fight. The body heals itself.
Our ability to live depends on our ability to fight the odds, every day. From the micro-organisms that enter our bodies to the lemons that life throws at us, our ability to carry on, starts at the level of a choice. A choice we make to hold on or to let go.
Fruits and nuts, spinach and cottage cheese (palak paneer), bacon and eggs, milk and cheese are required as food for our bodies, in the same way, mindfulness, spirituality, philosophy and introspection are food for our intelligence, our will. We have a lot to gain from engaging in practices that reinforce this will.
Immunity can be built up by a healthy diet and lifestyle. A fresh and nutritious diet enhances physical health and nourishes the mind. An active lifestyle in harmony with nature, mindfulness, yoga practices and meditation enhances mental health, improves physical strength and sustains spirituality. It gives a much needed break to our sense organs and relaxes them.
Just like exercising, running, going to the gym, following diets like vegan and keto and leading an active lifestyle are the modern world mantras for fitness and vitality, it is prudent to also heed and respect the ancient wisdom, traditions and practices to achieve the balance required to build up our immunity and lead a fulfilling life.
Finding time to access the primitive ways, relearning what might be forgotten about spirituality, balance and harmony might be the line drawn between going on and giving up.