By Dr. Gail Rosenberg
Behind your sternum (breastbone) is the thymus gland, an essential part of the lymphatic immune system. It is responsible for the maturing of infection-fighting cells called T-cells which are made in our bone marrow. In newborns the thymus is quite large and very active, but after puberty it begins to shrink.
Despite the fact that an adult’s thymus gland has slowed way down, it can be stimulated to perform better. “Thymus thumping” has anecdotally been associated with temporary increases in energy levels as well as improving immune function if practiced daily.
The thymus is located at the level of the third rib behind the sternum. Before thumping begins, take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Using fingertips or the side of a fist, tap up and down the sternum starting just below the collar bone level and going down two to three inches and back up again. Continue the up and down tapping for 30 to 60 seconds while taking slow, regular breaths. Don’t hurt yourself! Be gentle. Do this one to three times a day and more often if you have been exposed to sick people or are fighting an infection yourself.
(This article is not meant to replace medical advice or medical care for immune system conditions.)
To comment on this article, write Dr. Rosenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. She practices in Soquel Village.