Spring has officially arrived which means sunlight, warmer days, Cherry Blossom festivals and fresh energy. This also means allergy season which can include symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sinus congestion, sneezing and foggy headaches for many people this time of year.
In Chinese Medicine, allergies come about because the body’s “protective wall,” called Wei Qi or Defensive Qi is weakened and not able to keep the external environment out, hence a battle is waged between your system and the external stressors (pollen, grasses, etc.,)
Obviously, one cannot avoid the environment as a whole, so the solution lies in building your system up from the inside, so that the protective layer is firm and creates proper boundaries. In Western terms, this translates to regulating the immune response by reducing inflammation and histamine release.
Here are a few things you can do to get rid of your allergies so you can stop and smell the flowers!
1. Give Acupuncture A Try
Starting acupuncture in the weeks leading up to allergy season is a great way to regulate your immune system before things get out of hand. Studies have shown acupuncture’s effectiveness for treating allergic rhinitis as well as eye symptoms.
2. Reduce or Eliminate Sugar and Dairy
While some argue that dairy has no effect on mucous production in the body, years of anecdotal evidence in my clinic have inexorably linked the two. I find that when patients eliminate sugar and dairy from their diet, allergies are dramatically reduced.
3. Consider Herbal Remedies
Going the “natural route” with herbs and supplements, yields a fantastic result in the battle against allergies. A go-to product in my clinic, Natural D-Hist, uses enzymes, antioxidants and Stinging Nettles to reduce histamine response and inflammation without the drying effects of traditional anti-histamines.
Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas such as Gui Zhi Tang and Yu Ping Feng San are widely used to “build up the protective barrier,” with good effect. Your herbalist can help find the right blend for your particular constitution and pattern.
4. Try Facial Cupping
This very simple home treatment is gaining popularity for its beauty applications, by boosting circulation in the face and keeping fluids from accumulating in the tissues. It is great for opening up the sinuses and de-puffing the eyes! Try a home-use set like this from Lure.