Virology, Nutrition, Long Covid and Qigong
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I felt despair after the latest bout of Covid. When swimming or walking, I realised that my capacity was diminished. It wasn’t clear if my breathing was less effective, or if my muscles were still depleted. It was just a general sense of exhaustion that I’m really not used to experiencing.
You may ask yourself, and with good reason, “what on Earth does Jeremy know about Virology and Nutrition!?”
It’s the usual story, “Fools blunder in where Angels fear to tread”
My first clue came to me after a Bio resonance test. The idea being that the machine can “ping” various energetic patterns through your body (almost like a submarine sending out Sonar pings.)
As the “vibrations” come back, they can suggest weaknesses in the body by the received responses.
My therapist said “You are low on Zinc” — This was not a thing that I had ever considered.
The parts of the puzzle fell into place. I remembered that my mother had been prescribed Zinc pastils, when she’d lost her sense of smell. One of my students pointed out that the “Smell” process requires Zinc, but that the Immune response also uses up lots of Zinc — hence the loss of smell as you fight the infection. I was chronically low in Zinc, so started supplementing and my smell rushed straight back in.
It made me wonder what other minerals had been depleted by the last bout of Covid, and more to that, why my immune hadn’t withstood this onslaught better in the first place.
The next place to look was my Gut. I tested a sample, and discovered that my Gut Biome is deficient in many of the required bacteria. Meaning amongst others a depleted immune.
That’s triggered a Pre-biotic supplementation regimen and a change in diet to try to add diversity to my fibre intake.
What part do all these Minerals and Vitamins actually play in the process?
There are four major challenges to being a human — bacteria, toxins, parasites, and viruses.
Bacteria, we have a good grasp of… they are alive and grow under the right conditions, they can be helpful or harmful to us, but a good daily regimen can keep us free of most bacterial challenges..
Toxins are something that we learn about from Childhood. Don’t eat the mushrooms and berries without somebody checking them for you.. we all know of the dangers of cyanide and arsenic and so forth.
Parasites, again if treat our food well, and are careful about the quality of our water, we can usually surmount these.
Viruses however are still rather an anathema.
There are two principal types of Virus, and two ways that we try to deal with them.
Many viruses are simple and unchanging, allowing us to develop a vaccine, and keep them at bay. (We think of Measles, Polio and the likes..)
Other Viruses are notable because they ALWAYS change, making them much more difficult to defend against.
Our Bodies have Innate Immunity such as the skin or the mucous membrane linings in our airways and gut, if the Virus can get past these first line of defence, then we have the Adaptive Immune system, with specialised blood cells and proteins that target the specific cause of infection. The latter system can learn and remember threats, allowing us immunity after successfully fighting off an infection.
These responses can be hampered by such things as our chosen nutrition, our stress levels, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol.
This understanding was very important for me; as an example, poor nutrition can negatively affect the microbiome, gut barrier function, inflammatory processes, and white blood cell function, all of which lead to compromised immunity.
One of the primary villains in the piece is Sugar (which was my personal “bête noire”)
Sugar is shown to “increase levels of inflammatory proteins, including tumour necrosis-alpha (TNF-alpha), C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). They also interfere with the function of protective immune cells, including neutrophils and phagocytes.”
As the various bad habits started to fall away, (I quit smoking fifteen years ago, and alcohol three years ago..) there was always one treat left and that was sugar.
My Therapist said “Stop seeing Sugar as a gift!” — That was an eye-opener for me. When you see it for it’s true toxic self, it becomes easier to cut down.
Surprisingly, giving up caffeine has really helped me cut sugar right back, without even noticing!
Back to Viruses then.
There’s a debate as to whether Viruses “live” or not. They need another cell to reproduce in and can’t replicate themselves. This is where the debate comes in. If you can’t replicate yourself, then can you actually be “alive?” It seems that they can exist on surfaces for long periods of time, waiting to be picked up by another being. Does that make them a Toxin? They use other people’s cells to replicate, does that make them a Parasite? You see the issue, they can’t be put in a box!
(N.B Don’t be putting Viruses in Boxes please…!)
There’s questions also about whether they were here before us, before single celled amoeba or maybe came from another planet!
(At last, the “true” aliens!)
What is very noticeable, is how successful they actually are! Witness our last Pandemic…
It’s clear, that to fight off these invaders the body needs to be in tip-top shape.
“Immune support by micronutrients is historically based on vitamin C deficiency and supplementation in scurvy in early times. It has since been established that the complex, integrated immune system needs multiple specific micronutrients, including vitamins A, D, C, E, B6, and B12, folate, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium, which play vital, often synergistic roles at every stage of the immune response.”
The question is “Where do we get these nutrients from!?”
Our Farmers regularly add only four or five nutrients to their soil to grow our crops, but the human body requires a dozen or more different nutrients as a minimum.
This is why the “Mediterranean Diet” is often highlighted as a perfect diet…
The Mediterranean diet puts a higher focus on plant foods than many other diets. It is not uncommon for vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to make up all or most of a meal.
People following the diet typically cook these foods using healthful fats, such as olive oil, and add plenty of flavourful spices.
Meals may include small portions of fish, meat, or eggs also.
In short, the Mediterranean diet is rich and varied, and would provide all the micronutrients a body would need to fight off an infection, but also help rebuild after an infection.
The diet is also rich in Collagen, that also supports the Gut lining and hence immunity.
(When we take in any toxins, they become coated with mucous and can easily be disposed of or stored.. The storage process is part of getting fat! Your poor body tries to isolate all these toxins we love so much, from the last donut, pastry, processed meat or sugary sweet; whilst it tries to save you, you become obese!
The picture starts to come into focus. Bad diet, bad habits, weakened immune, susceptibility to viral attacks.
It’s an economic picture too. Stroll through the discount supermarkets and see how many products contain sugar! (And salt, and fat…)
The craze for Salted Caramel in such things as chocolate and ice-cream is no mistake.
The food giants have scientists who build these foods to be addictive. This is the perfect combination of Fat, Sugar and Salt, that triggers all the reward centres in one’s brain, making one want more and more!
One branch of science is destroying your immune system for profit, whilst another branch is offering you a short cut to immunity for profit.
We saw in the past pandemic how deeply the poorer members of our community suffered.
(And I think we’ll see those figures reflected in the more stress members of our community also..)
As humans we are always looking for the easy road, and the short-cut.
We were coerced into taking an experimental vaccine, essentially to stop our beloved NHS from falling over. (An NHS that has in once sense been so deeply cut, but that has also become so managerially bloated, that it’s no longer fit for purpose.)
All of this, to stop an embarrassment for our government here in the UK.
Time will tell if the simple precautions that countries like Sweden took,(masks and no lockdown) were better in the long run.
I agree, why not protect the aged and vulnerable.
Perhaps the government realised that their policies of having children rely on takeaways, stopping cooking lessons in schools, selling off playing fields so nobody exercises anymore and having everybody rely on sugar for their energy, would quickly come to roost during the pandemic, and that we’d burn our country down when we saw bodies piling up in the corridors of hospitals.. and then finally realise who the culprits and robbers really were…
In Zhineng Qigong, we rely on the power of our consciousness.
We believe that ANYTHING can be healed if you create the right state of mind.
Science is now following this trend, here I quote from an article from Johns Hopkins Medical School
What is clear, however, is that there is definitely a strong link between “positivity” and health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions — including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumours.
Studies also find that negative emotions can weaken immune response.
I quote here from an interview with Dr Pang Ming, the founder of Zhineng Style Qigong.
“We cultivate our own qi through accessing nature’s great store of qi. This approach produces quicker results. (..than the other styles of qigong that focus on build one’s own internal qi first)
But cultivating qi is not the most fundamental; cultivating one’s spirit is.
Mastery of qi is really achieved through mastery of consciousness.
We use consciousness in a careful, craftsmanlike way, to shape our life, to attain our goals.
If we use modern terminology to name this process, we call it qigong.
The ancients used the word qi but this mystified people.
But in modern terms, qigong is just the refinement of consciousness to enhance the state of energy in the body. This leads to vibrant health, a harmonious body and mind, and an awakened spiritual life.
When we practice, we use the exercises of Qigong to open, stretch and strengthen the body, we use the meditative guided visualisations to bring the mind to bear on fixing the problems.
It’s a very powerful two pronged approach.
It’s Dr Pang’s opinion that when something like Covid strikes one, the you should sit quietly and see the process through, practicing all the time.
He says, fill yourself with “good qi” and there will be no room for “bad qi”
Well in reality, he says there’s no such thing as good or bad qi, but just qi that is currently not seen as helpful by your system.
Don’t forget that awful phrase “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger!”
There is an embedded truth there. Allow the virus to do its thing.
If your practice is strong, it’ll pass, leaving you better off.
There’s a great healing to be had from the “clean-out” of Colds and Flu’s!
It’s good to push your immune from time to time, and come out stronger.
The positive mind-set, and the strong healthy body are by far the best defence against Virus attacks.
The second line is to see that “We are what we eat” — if we make the body as healthy and as clean as we can, that supports all we are trying to do with our qigong.
Lastly, realising that sometimes we just HAVE to stop and take time off, to allow our bodies to replenish and update. It’s important to realise that STRESS will kill you, just slowly.
Value your body, value your life.
We only have this brief opportunity, use it wisely and well.