Truly one of the most amazing examples of inter-cooperative, biochemical engineering imaginable! The immune system – our own personal National Guard and Marine Corps, rolled into one. It is always vigilant – 24/7 to keep us from harm and invasion by foreign enemies – microbes that want to grow and flourish in our internal environment.
One of the fun things about teaching this course for the past 30 years is watching the reactions of learners as they “get” what their immune system really is – that great “ah-ha!” moment when the dots get connected and it all makes sense. This is when we start to have a different relationship with our body and a new respect for how awesome, amazing, and comprehensive the immune system is!
When most of us think “immune system” we think of tonsils, spleen, lymph nodes (glands in our armpits, throat, and groin), and of course our white blood cells. These body parts certainly are members of the immune elite. If you check with the encyclopedia or on Google, you are likely to find these wonderful entities under the definition of the immune system.
However, when we look at this amazing system from a Whole Person Health perspective, this shortlist of parts becomes a much longer one, indeed. There are dozens of white blood cells and related specialized immune cells that do a phenomenal job of playing “Pac-Man” with the unwanted microbes in our bloodstream, tissues, and organs. Every organ in our body has an immunological role to play from the liver, which detoxifies, to the stomach which contains hydrochloric acid to kill bacteria and microbes coming in through the mouth, up to and including our nostril hairs that trap unwanted foreign particles before they can irritate our airways.
In fact, there is no part of our body that isn’t part of our immune system. The largest “part” of our immune system is our skin which is responsible for protecting our insides from outside entities and vice versa. As the skin is the number one rated beauty or sexual attraction in both men and women around the world, (anthropological research by Margaret Mead and others) we can easily see that to have beautiful skin is a reflection of a healthy immune system and a strong indicator of a healthy and productive system. Beautiful skin and a healthy immune system, always start from the inside out.