The itchies, the sneezies, and the runnies. For some, seasonal allergies make the onset of fall or spring uncomfortable and sometimes insufferable. Allergy sufferers spend millions of dollars on shots and medications every year, often with unwanted side-effects like dryness, nervousness and fatigue. The patients who receive acupuncture to treat their allergy symptoms feel relief on the very first visit, and repeated treatments can drastically reduce acuteness and recurrence of the symptoms over time.
Certain allergens in the air – pollen, grass, weeds – cause some immune systems to over-react, causing the sneezing and congestion, itchy and watery eyes, headaches and fatigue that we associate with allergy reactions. Western medicine treats these manifestations and other complications, such as sinus infections, with antihistamines. These treatments, which include pills and nasal sprays only treat the symptoms, not the source.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) goes to the root of the problem, as well as effectively treats the symptoms. Here is what one patient said about treating chronic sinus infections from allergies:
“As long as I can remember, I have had problems with my sinuses. I would get at least 3 sinus infections a year. I have tried everything from over the counter to prescription medications. They would solve the problem for a short time, but after a few months I would become immune to the allergy medications.
I decided to give acupuncture a try. I must admit I was a little skeptical in the beginning. However, after just two treatments, I am very happy to say that I have not had a sinus infection in over a year.” L.F.
From a TCM perspective, allergies point to a deficiency of Qi in certain organs that support the natural, healthy function of the lungs and nasal passages. Acupuncture helps restore the flow and clear blockage of the body’s natural energy, leaving the body stronger and healthier as a whole.
What You Can Do – At Home Allergy Treatment
Like any major change, the best results occur over a period of time. Your first treatment will most likely provide some immediate symptomatic relief. For a symptom-free season, give yourself the opportunity for regular acupuncture; your body will thank you for the extra boost and support. For long term allergy-free living, acupuncture can build your body’s natural immune system even in the off season – and be prepared to experience a drastic reduction in symptoms next year!
• Try to avoid sweets, especially refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Sweets tend to bog down the natural function of the digestive system causing incompletely digested foods. This leftover food matter turns into phlegm and mucus that can travel upwards and exacerbate mucus and fluids in the head.
• Reduce dairy intake. Much in the same way, drinking a glass of milk produces mucus in your throat, dairy products produce mucus and phlegm in the entire digestive system. Patients will experience less acute allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes and congestions, with a reduced consumption of dairy products because their body is producing less gunk overall.
• As always, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. The flow of water through your system effectively flushes away toxins. This clean, fresh flow also prevents the accumulation and stagnation of mucus. Drinking more water will also allow you to reduce your intake of unnecessary caffeine and sodas.
• Try cleansing your nasal passages daily with a Netti Pot. Nasal irrigation removes mucus and pollution from the nose and sinuses and speeds the healing of inflamed tissues.
• Spring Clean! Don’t give mold allergens the chance to take hold in this transitional damp weather. Get air moving around your home and through areas where dampness collects, like the bathroom. As the weather gets warmer, be sure to use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity. Say goodbye to dusty air filters and dust-collecting drapes.
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