Let’s face it. Summer is coming to an end.
Before we close up the windows and doors and spend more time inside with other people’s germs (OPG), let’s learn about the importance of a gland we don’t hear much about and how we can proactively use it to help keep us healthy as we transition into cooler weather, back-to-school activities(OPG) and the start of you-know-what-season.
The thymus is composed of two identical lobes and is located anatomically in the anterior superior mediastinum, in front of the heart. It is part of the lymphatic immune system and is responsible for maturing infection-fighting white blood cells (T cells) made in our bone marrow.
“Thymus Tapping”, gently tapping on the thymus gland around the area where the thymus lives, is a method used to create vibrations that stimulate an increase in the maturation and release of white blood cells. This practice is also known as thumping, circling or rubbing.
In addition to being used to boost immunity, it is also used for increasing energy levels and the treatment of anxiety in adults and children. There are two ways I like to practice this, which gives the variation in the names I use : thymus tapping and thymus thumping.
1. Start seated or standing. Take a few deep, relaxing breaths.
2. Using your fingertips (tapping) or finger side of your softly closed fist (thumping), tap up and down about 2-3 inches along your sternum, then move your hands towards the left shoulder as you begin to circle around the upper sternum.
3. Do this for 15-20 seconds and continue to take easy, slow breaths.
4. Do 1-3 times a day or up to 4 during times of acute illness. This can also be done as a daily preventive measure, or at the start of a yoga class.
5. Remain still for a minute or so after and notice how you feel.
Another way to look at the thymus and the tapping we use to stimulate activity, is seeing the anatomical area as the fourth chakra, known as both the Heart Chakra and the Anahata Chakra.
Love, compassion and kindness live in the Heart Chakra, as well as emotional issues such as grief, relationship problems, and guilt. When the heart chakra symbol is open, we are able to forgive, our lungs are clear and our immune systems are healthy. Almost always after a good class, my heart feels wide open. It’s one of those things that is hard to describe but if you’ve felt it, you understand. This thymus tapping practice described in this post can help open your heart chakra. Again, observe the area and be aware how it feels when you finish this practice.
(Do you want to know more about the seven chakras? Let me know.)