Integrative Nutrition Blog

Insights on Autoimmune Health and Inflammatory Conditions

What Else Helps Heal?

Nov 29, 2023 | All

Besides medication and diet, there are a lot of other things you can do to help relieve some of your autoimmune disease symptoms. Some of them depend on your own root causes, and some are just general lifestyle tips that can help overall. Many of these are easy to implement into your daily routine, while others may take a bit more research and trials. Regardless, I’m betting that at least one of these options helps you in your healing journey.

General Things that Can Help

Get High-Quality Sleep. Sleep can be a game-changer when it comes to autoimmune disease symptoms. I’ve talked and written about the importance of sleep in the past, but I can’t stress enough how critical sleep is to lowering inflammation.
Having an autoimmune disease means that your body needs more sleep to function. My minimum recommendation is 8 hours. Some people may need up to 10 hours to keep their inflammation down.
If sleep is an issue for you, the one thing that might help is to create a pre-sleep routine. It doesn’t have to be fancy and multi-step, but you need to start doing 1-2 things consistently before going to bed. This provides a signal to your body that it’s time for sleep. My sleep routine is wearing blue light-blocking glasses and shutting down work and email 2 hours before bed.

Connecting with People

Having a social connection does wonders for your body and mind. When you are lonely, it actually works against you. Studies have shown that loneliness increases pro-inflammatory gene expression and can cause higher systemic inflammation.

If you tend to be an introvert like myself, it’s important to seek out individual time with others to avoid the social drain of energy. Try to set a weekly date with a friend to go for coffee or even a walk. If you work in an office setting, make a point to start up conversations with others on a daily basis. The more interaction you have with others, the lower your inflammation can be.

Get Outside

Spending time in nature is incredibly helpful for both lowering inflammation and stress. Plus, the fresh air can help boost your mental health, lower depression, and support your immune system. Experts recommend spending 120 minutes a week in green spaces, which breaks down to approximately 17 minutes per day.

Specific Modalities to Explore

My general recommendations work for almost everyone, but not all of us are affected by the same stressors. Here are some specific options for you depending on your autoimmune disease triggers and root causes.


I should put stress in the general category because most of the people I speak to with autoimmune disease symptoms tell me that stress is a major flare trigger for them. But, some people are much better at managing their stress. If you are not one of those people, stress is a big challenge. It is also one of those things that takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what helps you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meditation: There is a lot of research on the benefits of meditation. Some people have a hard time with this as it can be hard to keep your mind quiet. But, most meditation practices acknowledge this and when you feel your mind drifting, you just need to bring it back to focus. This happens a lot when I meditate, and I do find that meditation really helps me re-center and lower my stress.
  • Bodywork: Whether it’s massage, acupuncture, somatic therapy, or reiki, bodywork can really help lower stress signals in the body. This isn’t as accessible but if you can find a good practitioner it can be life-changing. I use a variety of bodywork modalities to help my stress levels.
  • Heart Math: Heart math is a type of meditation that works on regulating your heart rate variability. It combines love and kindness meditation with breathwork so you can figure out how to keep your stress levels in check. I’ve used this in the past and have been meaning to get back into this as I found it really helpful. The bonus with this method is you only need about 6 minutes a few times a day to see the benefits.


Unfortunately, many people with autoimmune diseases suffer from past trauma. It might be hidden, forgotten, or possibly not even recognized as trauma. But whatever negatively affected you in your childhood, adolescence, or adulthood could still be festering inside and causing all sorts of harm.

Trauma is a really important one to address and a lot of people are afraid to do this because it’s hard. Facing your demons, your past, and the uncomfortableness of experiences is not easy. But, in order for your body to truly heal, it needs to be done.

Finding the right therapy for your trauma is also important.

There are several different options and, like stress, you need to find the technique and practitioner that works for you. Here are some options to explore:

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): a form of psychotherapy where you focus on the trauma memory while being stimulated bilaterally. The goal is to change the way this memory is stored in your brain to reduce the symptoms that come from the traumatic experience.
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS): This therapy helps people figure out and connect to their “self” and then identify their “parts” where the trauma is carried.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT looks at a person’s underlying beliefs that trigger the inability to function and respond appropriately. People learn how to identify, assess, and change negative perceptions and actions.

It’s worth trying these ideas out to see if they help. Along with medication and diet, things like sleep, social connections, nature, stress resilience, and trauma work can be game changers for your autoimmune disease.

If you need more help navigating nutrition and lifestyle, please contact me to learn more about how I can help. You can also follow me on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube for more information about living with an autoimmune disease.

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