Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Osteopathy and self-care for your immune system

Keep calm and boost your immune system.


Coronavirus is novel and we don’t have the antibodies to fight it.  However, we would like to encourage calm and self care so that your immune system is prepared to fight the virus should you contract it. Based on the experience in China, where the disease is now past its peak, it is predicted that the majority of people who get this virus will suffer minor, transitory symptoms – 80% of infected people will recover without treatment.  So our best defense, is to do whatever we can to boost our immune system so that your body can defend itself should you become infected.

This post explains what osteopaths can do to help (while we are still able to see patients) and what you can do to help yourself.  We have also attached an exercise program, aimed to improve the mechanics of your immune system.

How can osteopathy help your immune system?

Osteopaths use of a number of techniques that can help to support your immune system. These techniques are targeted at improving the function of your respiratory system, lymphatic system and the thoracic region (neck, upper back, rib cage, diaphragm) of your body.

These systems are instrumental in motoring the immune system and reducing the impact on our health from viral or bacterial infection.

Another way osteopathy can help your immune system is through inducing relaxation.  Research has shown that manipulative treatments induce the production of relaxation molecules such as endocannabinoids.  Our patients always comment on how relaxed they feel as a result of treatment.  A 40 minute treatment can be a valuable oasis even for the severely stressed.

There is some research to suggest that osteopathy can reduce the mortality rate from complications associated with influenza, such a pneumonia.

We have also helped a great number of patients with chest and other pain following viral or bacterial chest infection.  There is more detail of this in our article below.

Osteopathy treatment for chest pain following flu or cold

Self-care to boost your immune system

Here are the most effective ways to strengthen our immune system:

  • Follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly, which may be something simple as increasing the amount of walking you do.
  • Sleep at least 7-8 hours per night:
  • Manage stress – Stay calm and boost your immune system.
  • Quit or reduce smoking – this virus targets the respiratory system so quit smoking over the next few months, as long as it won’t cause undue stress for you and your family.
  • Reduce alcohol intake if it is currently moderate to high.
  • Pay attention to personal hygiene, especially hand washing, handling food, interacting with other people.
  • Manage weight and blood pressure over the immediate to longer term.
  • Try these exercises.  We have designed an exercise program (click link below). It aims to gently mobilise your thoracic region. This will help prepare your body to fight infection, by reducing any physical restrictions. Perform these daily and enjoy the calm they will induce. Stay Calm and boost your immune system. #coronakindness


Knott EM, Tune JD, Stoll ST, Downey HF. Increased Lymphatic Flow in the Thoracic Duct During Manipulative Intervention. J Am Osteopath Assoc2005;105(10):447–456.

Seffinger MA, Rich J. Lymphatic Pump OMT Releases Cytokines Into Central Circulation. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2014;114(7):587–588.

Smith RK. One hundred thousand cases of influenza with a death rate of one-fortieth of that officially reported under conventional medical treatment. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1920;19:172-175.

Yao, S., Hassani, J., Gagne, M., George, G., Gilliar, W. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment as a Useful Adjunctive Tool for Pneumonia. J. Vis. Exp. (87), e50687, doi:10.3791/50687 (2014).