If there’s one good thing that’s come out of this pandemic, it’s the widespread recognition of the importance of healthy immune function. By no means does this imply that the immune system didn’t play a critical before, but it has now become painfully obvious. Never before have we been faced with such a virulent and deadly global pandemic for which there is no known cure. To put it plainly, your only defense against COVID-19 infection is strong immunity and some good old common sense. If you’re well-endowed with the latter, you might be looking for ways to boost the former. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and immune boosting benefits are accrued over time. This said, it would make sense to start accruing those benefits now and the simplest strategy would be meditation. That common sense should be making you suspicious and skeptical now, but we’re not kidding. Read on, and you’ll find out how meditation helps boost immunity.
Meditation And Immune System
Until recent times, the mechanism of the immune system was considered to be purely physical. This belief has been shaken up, as researchers explored and developed an understanding of the connection between the human brain and the immune system – immune cells function in response to chemical messages sent from the brain . As evidence for this connection grew, researchers also began to recognize that our thoughts, moods, and emotions could impact our immunity.
Not surprisingly, we now know that meditation can have a significant impact on immunity, although the mechanism is not completely understood. It is clear that depression and anxiety disorders, no matter how mild, can have a weakening effect on immunity. Meditation, on the other hand, lowers stress and anxiety levels and boosts your mood. This state of peace and happiness is conducive not just to your mental health, but also to the immune system.
Meditation For Healthy Lungs
Our lungs play a vital role in the functioning of the immune system. After all, none of the organs can function without a steady supply of oxygen. However, breathing is a reflex action and so most of us take it for granted. As a result, we tend to take shallow breaths and reduced lung capacity is just a way of life. Meditation helps improve airflow and promotes diaphragmatic breathing . Meditative practices like Kundalini and Zhuanqi are two efficient forms of breathing that promote healthy lungs.
Kundalini (diaphragm breathing): Kundalini is a controlled breathing technique, like diaphragm breathing. The diaphragm is an important part of the respiratory system, located at the bottom of the lungs. Breathing with the diaphragm strengthens it and allows the lungs to take in more air to fulfill the oxygen requirements for the body .
Zhuanqi: This is a meditative breathing technique that unites mind and breathing. The aim of this technique is to slow down breathing and relax the mind. It utilizes the abdominal muscles to elevate the diaphragm and push air out, making room for more oxygen .
Meditative practices like these can also help strengthen lung function to provide relief from chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, fibrosis .
How It Works
Experts believe that meditation helps the immune system produce more antibodies to fight against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, thus keeping you safe from various diseases. Additionally, meditation helps you release stress and negative thoughts, which in turn raises the numbers of lymphocytes.
Studies That Back The Claim
A research conducted by UCLA had 50 HIV positive patients do meditation on a daily basis and a comparable group who did not meditate regularly. The results showed that the group that meditated regularly maintained their initial level of CD-4 cells (immune cells that keep HIV from breeding and spreading). In addition, the more they meditated and the more training they received, the higher their CD-4 cell count rose, as compared to the other group. 
In another study, subjects who meditate regularly showed a significant rise in levels of antibodies to fight disease-causing pathogens, as compared to levels in those who do not meditate. 
Given these studies, it is safe to say that there is a proven correlation between meditation and boosting your immunity.
Practicing Meditation During The Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us to varying degrees. With lockdowns in place across much of the world, a mounting death toll, and businesses collapsing, the future looks uncertain and bleak. The uncertainty of the times and loneliness of social distancing can make you despair but it’s even more important to care for yourself during such times. Meditating while you are quarantined at home will not only help you ease your mind and relieve anxiety and stress, but it will also help boost your immunity. As you should know, this is the best thing you can do to stay safe from infection.
Getting Started with Meditation
Meditation is always tough until you get started.
To begin, find a position that you are comfortable in. You don’t have to sit cross-legged if you aren’t comfortable in that position.
Breathe naturally. Meditation does involve focusing on the breath, but try not to think about it or alter it. Eventually, with practice, things will unfold naturally.
Meditating in the same place, at the same time is highly recommended as it brings a sense of discipline and comfort. At the same time, don’t be too rigid. The great part about meditation and yoga is that you can do it anytime and anywhere, so embrace the flexibility too.
After you’re done with your session, take a few moments to introspect. Notice how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. This will help you get a better understanding of how meditation affects you, allowing you to get the most out of the practice, while also strengthening your commitment.
Most importantly, don’t give up. Meditation requires patience. Don’t expect instant results; instead let things happen at a natural pace. So if you can resist that urge to find instant gratification, we can bet you won’t be disappointed.