Can they be treated?
Are you one of those people who dread spring and summer because of Seasonal Allergies?
Do you suffer from any of these symptoms in Spring and Summer: nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or itchy eyes, skin, throat, ears?
If your allergies are really severe, and affect your lungs, you may also experience shortness of breath, a wheeze, and cough.
Excess mucus production may also be an issue for some.
You may be surprised to hear that Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is very effective at treating Allergies!
So, what is an Allergy?
An allergy is a misguided response by the body to normally harmless foreign substances by the immune system. The body reacts to substances like grass and pollen by having an inflammatory reaction and releasing histamine.
It is not very well understood in Modern Medicine why people develop allergies. Genetics and family history are often a factor, but it is not well understood why people suddenly develop allergies at a later age and what factors could have brought them on.
Decongestants, antihistamines, glucocorticoids are often used to alleviate the milder symptoms. For the more severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, immediate administration of subcutaneous epinephrine or IV steroids such as dexamethasone is required. Although these drugs can help alleviate the allergic symptoms they are certainly not a cure for them.
How are Allergies Treated in Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, acupressure, herbal and dietary therapy has a somewhat different way of looking at the problem of allergies and how to treat them. Generally, if a person is exhibiting symptoms of allergies, the symptoms are correlated to understand the cause of imbalance.
Here is how a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner will do the diagnosis.
They will ask you questions regarding your overall health:
Do you catch colds easily?
Do you sweat easily for no reason?
Do you have atendency to feel hot more often?
Does heat aggravate your symptoms?
Or do you feel cold more easily?
Do cold, windy days aggravate your symptoms?
What are the symptoms you suffer from?
How is your digestion?
How does stress affect you physically?
Once you answer these questions, the Practitioner will check your tongue, feel your pulse and decide how to treat you for your symptoms. When a person is generally healthy but allergies seem to be their biggest peeve, the most common diagnosis may be that their Wei Qi is weak. Wei Qi refers to Defensive Energy, or the Body’s immune system, and a weakness in it would cause a person to react to normally harmless substances.
In addition, in TCM, the invasion of pathogens is often commonly attributed to “wind cold” invasion or “wind heat” invasion.
For allergy sufferers, a diagnosis of “Wind Cold” would mean: they have runny noses, with a more watery or white discharge, tendency to be cold, sensitive to wind, possible headache in occiput or stiffness in neck.
Symptoms such as blocked or congested nose, itchy eyes, nose, throat, sore throat, yellow mucus discharge, tendency to feel hot would be classified as “Wind Heat” invasion.
Acupuncture and Herbal Treatments for Allergies
The acupuncture treatment protocol would differ based on the symptoms of allergies. Acupuncture points are selected based on the symptoms of discomfort and the root cause of allergies. More cooling herbs would be recommended to those suffering from “Wind Heat” symptoms such as Chrysanthemum tea, Mulberry leaf tea. For those suffering from “Wind Cold” symptoms, warming herbs would be recommended such as Ginger tea.
In TCM, the treatment protocol will focus on strengthening the body (Defensive Energy) proactively. When there is an acute flare up of allergies, the treatment will be changed to focus on clearing the pathogens.
Regular acupuncture treatments are required during a flare up till the symptoms clear. With regular treatments it is possible to strengthen the Defensive Energy of an individual so their body no longer thinks that common substances such as grass and pollen are allergens.
Restore your health naturally!
Allergy sufferers, you will be happy to learn that with TCM therapy of acupuncture, diet and/or herbs, it is possible to overcome the problem of allergies long term. If interested, please contact Anu Sahgal, Registered Acupuncturist and Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner to book an appointment for consultation and treatment.