Two Rituals To Boost Your Immune System
The seasonal change from winter to spring can see a surge in illness, but how we begin and end the day can have a meaningful impact on our immune systems.
Science says that how we bathe makes a difference: from an invigorating cold shower in the morning to a restorative warm bath in the evening, we have the potential to dial into our physical and mental health.
The body care products that we choose have the power to elevate the experience. In this collaboration with Olverum – pioneers in green beauty and wellbeing since 1931 – we explore the rituals and remedies that enhance your self-care and wellness, and may help to keep you cold-free this spring.
Olverum only uses the best quality essential oils in their range, which help to nourish the skin and ease our stress levels with their calming scent. But did you know that the anti-microbial constituents in those essential oils can directly impact our immune system too? Adding two simple rituals – one in the morning and one in the evening – that involve Olverum can help to strengthen your immunity.
A Cold Shower
A cold spritz after a warm shower can offer benefits that last all day: from increasing alertness (who needs coffee?) to reducing stress levels, increasing your willpower and assisting in weight loss (by stimulating the generation of brown fat that helps burn calories). A cold shower can also increase your metabolic rate and give you a more robust immune system. Just a 30-90 second burst of cold water during a daily shower can result in fewer sick days from work (1). Here’s why: cold water – anything below 21 degrees C – helps to boost your bug-busting white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to the changing conditions. Cold showers also cause the release of adrenaline, which helps our bodies in resisting infection.
It’s important to take care of our skin barrier, especially if we are suffering from an illness as the skin’s protective function can become impaired. This can result in dry, itchy and irritated skin and may make the skin more susceptible to infections. Additionally, medications used to treat colds and flu can also have a drying effect on the skin. The blend of 5 mild surfactants in Olverum Body Cleanser derive from sugar, amino acids and sustainably sourced coconut and palm, taking daily care of the skin to help support its barrier function (and prevent further irritation or damage if we are suffering from sniffles). The heavenly essential oil scent helps to relieve stress and tension, priming you for a more productive day.
Post shower, you might consider chewing a Leapfrog IMMUNE with its combination of Lactoferrin, Zinc, and Vitamin C. Lactoferrin is a natural anti-viral protein that our body makes daily to defend us against germs and is the key immunity-building ingredient in Mother’s Milk (ours is extracted from grass-fed cow’s milk). Taken by Pulse Method® (one tablet per day month on / month off) you can supplement your body’s natural defences to keep coughs and colds at bay.
A Warm Bath
Taking time to soak in a warm bath an hour before bedtime is a natural and effective way to support your immune system and bring on the sleep that is fundamental to good health. Scientists have found that the elevation of body temperature can help specific immune cells to function more effectively – for example, when we suffer a fever it mobilises the body to fight infection. A particular kind of lymphocyte -that can destroy virus-infected cells and tumour cells -is enhanced by mild fever-range hyperthermia (2). So, it’s unsurprising that hydrotherapy – such as baths and saunas – can increase these infection-fighting immune cells too. Sleep is vital for a well-balanced immune defence system, and a crucial time for our body to recharge, recover and repair. As little as 10 minutes of bathing in water that’s about 40 degrees C can encourage sleep and increase sleep duration (3). Our bodies gradually cool by the evening, prior to sleep. After you step out of a bath your body temperature will rapidly fall as the blood rushes to the skin surface, radiating out of the hands and feet. This augments a drop in core temperature – ideally 0.5- 1 degree C – that instigates the production of melatonin and the resulting deep sleep (4).
Essential oils are powerful natural antimicrobials and can help to support you if you feel under the weather. When bathing with bath oil, the constituents are easily absorbed into the skin and in the steam that you breathe in. Leapfrog’s consultant pharmaceutical scientist at the University of Huddersfield, Dr Hamid Merchant, suggests steam inhalation at the very first sign of a cold, flu or Covid symptoms: “The higher temperature combined with the moisture minimises the viral load and weakens the virus by disrupting the viral capsid – the protein shell of a virus that encloses its genetic material.” Olverum’s Bath Oil contains a closely guarded therapeutic blend of 10 essential oils including Eucalyptus and Rosemary, both of which have a soothing effect on the airways, making it easier to breathe if you are feeling congested. The natural fragrance also has a meditative effect, reducing stress levels and encouraging relaxation prior to sleep.
Post bathing, you could consider chewing 1 or 2 tablets of Leapfrog SNOOZE. A clever combination of Lactium®, Lactoferrin and Vitamin B6, SNOOZE harnesses a relaxing milk peptide that has soothing qualities to calm a busy mind in preparation for sleep.
As spring is in sight and seasonal changes can often bring on coughs and colds, these simple remedies and rituals can set you up for a stronger immune system to defend against them.