Is Never Getting Sick a Sign of True Wellness?
I was having a chat to a client last week and we were talking about the myth that if you (or your child) never get sick, this must be a great sign you are super duper healthy, right? Even if you don't mean to, it's easy to start to congratulate yourself for a job well done! And it may very well be, however we also have to ask - is the absence of obvious illness all that is needed to be well?
Reality isn't quite that simple. Sorry if you're one of those who is rarely ill, especially if you're not really taking the best care of yourself and thinking you're getting away with it...
Not only is it truly normal to occasionally become unwell, it's actually a positive sign that your immune system is responding appropriately, because it has the available resources to do so. If you show strong signs of vitality and thriving, then perhaps you do have everything sorted but we first want to consider what is happening within the whole body and if there are any other symptoms or signs that perhaps despite the lack of overt illnesses, the body is not actually functioning optimally.
How is your digestion? How quickly do you fall asleep, or wake throughout the night? Energy and mood? Dark circles under eyes? Constant low-grade sniffles or coughing?
If you're never getting "sick" but still not a shining example of glorious health, then we may want to consider that the body may not actually have enough available energy and resources to mount an appropriately strong response to pathogens, given this is exactly what it's designed to do when it senses a threat.
In my work with allergies and eczema, I often have to spend time explaining to clients that antibody production in response to pathogens is a hugely energy-intensive process (which is why I suggest removing known allergens completely as we focus on rebalancing and supporting the body) as a protective measure of the body to keep itself safe, which does take significant resources away from passive "day-to-day" immunity and wellbeing. It's one reason that the medical system is now getting better at recognising fevers as being an active attempt by the immune system to raise the body temperature to kill pathogens - and not necessarily a "bad" thing that needs to get fixed asap. I tell my daughter when she does get hot to cheer on those little soldiers in her body taking steps to get rid of the bad guys by burning them away. It's even thought that occasional fevers help to theoretically strengthen the immune system as well - like many things, it's also frequency and When a heightened immune response is chronic, such as in the case of autoimmune conditions, it may be that the body only has enough energy to respond in more subtle ways because it's in a depleted state. If you're often lethargic, you may want to consider this especially if you haven't had a cold in years! It's also a reason I suggest not "feeding a cold" if not hungry (but of course keeping a close eye on hydration and the body itself). Digestion takes up a lot of energy and resources so asking the body to digest while it's trying to put energy into responding and healing doesn't really make logical sense. So, what is the "ideal" amount to get sick? I'm obviously not a doctor so this is just my personal view recognising the intense amount of complexity that comes with immunity but over my last eight years of reading, I've come to look at this topic differently than when I started. "Normal" in my view is getting minor cold-like symptoms during seasonal changes (which appears a very natural time for the body to do a clear out) once or twice a year of short duration, and of minimal interruption, usually needing very little intervention. While that's happening we can take the time to rest and recharge, as well as consider what else in our lives may need "clearing out" to make room for the new and strengthen our situation. If you can't remember the last time you were even a little unwell, it may be a good opportunity to take a close look at your situation to truly assess your health and wellness.