Are you hearing parents telling their kids to wash their hands after playing outside or at a playground? Have you noticed hand sanitizers are everywhere? All this good intentioned cleanliness is actually having a negative impact on our immune system. These actions can kill off the good bacteria on your hands and allow antibiotic resistant bad bacteria to grow.
The image pictured might remind you of high school biology class and growing things in petri dishes. Tasha Sturm, a microbiology lab tech at Cabrillo College, decided to see what was on her son’s hands.
After her 8 year old son had been playing outdoors Tasha got him to leave a handprint in a petri dish that was filled with agar jelly. She then warmed it to body temperature in an incubator and the bacteria and fungus on her son’s hand grew into the cultures that we can see in the above image.
The image is beautiful and somehow unsettling at the same time.
But we shouldn’t be worried. “It’s normal stuff that we’re exposed to every day. The skin protects us from a lot of the bad stuff out there. The take home message is that to have a healthy immune system, you’ve got to be exposed to stuff.”
So ease up on the hand sanitizer and let your kids jump up and down in muddy puddles! It’s good for your immunity.
One of the most interesting areas of Chiropractic is the role it plays in our immune system. More and more studies are showing improvement in the immune system from spinal adjustments. Such as this study:
Adjustments and your Immune System:
Enhanced Phagocytic Cell respiratory Burst Induced by Spinal Manipulation. JMPT 1991:14:399-408.
This study was designed to measure the effect that a Chiropractic adjustment has on the immune system. Blood was taken from each of the patients 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the adjustment. These results were compared to patient’s blood test who received a sham (pretend) adjustment. The immune response from subjects who received the adjustment was significantly higher after than before treatment, and significantly higher than the response from the sham subjects.
The effects of chiropractic on the immune system: a review of the literature. Allen JM, Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 1993; 23:132-135.
This is a summary of recent research implying a connection between chiropractic adjustments and immuno-competence. The literature suggests that the nervous system plays a role in the modulation of the immune response and that chiropractic adjustments influence T and B lymphocyte numbers, natural killer cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma endorphin levels. The few studies attempting to measure the effect of chiropractic or manipulative treatment on the immune response are reviewed.
The anatomical and physiological connections between the immune system and the nervous system suggest that the nervous system plays a role in the modulation of the immune response.
Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance P. Brennan PC, Kokjohn DC, Killinger CL et al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Vol. 14 No 7 Sept 1991 p 399-408.
An interesting property of phagocytic cells (polymorphonuclear neutrophils or PMNs and monocytes in this study) is put to use in this study, that is, they emit light during phagocytosis (called “respiratory burst”).
Using 67 male and 32 female volunteers, blood was taken 15 minutes before and after subjects had a sham manipulation, a thoracic spine manipulation or a soft tissue manipulation.
More light was emitted from monocytes and PMNs after spinal manipulation than from the sham or soft tissue work. Substance P (SP) is a neurotransmitter released from the dorsal root ganglion and its plasma level was elevated after the manipulation. SP appears to be able to prime phagocytes for enhanced respiratory burst.
From the discussion: “Thus the data provided evidence that spinal manipulation elicits viscerosomatic responses; specifically, our study shows that manipulation affects cells involved in inflammatory and immune responses, at least over the short term.”
It is common for patients here in our clinic to report that their colds, respiratory infections, sinus congestion and tummy viruses settle down faster following treatment. So it is exciting to see current scientific developments are now supporting the idea that by reducing nerve interference to the body by removing subluxations with Chiropractic care we are having such a profound positive impact on the immune system.