THE ALLERGY BALANCE CONNECTION:
In its simplest form, an allergy is an excessive reaction by the immune system to a substance that is normally harmless. Such a substance is called an “allergen.” A body out of balance and exposed to allergens leads to traditional allergy symptoms such as swelling, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, allergic eczema, conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Holistic medicine has been helping balance immune responses for generations and there are many nature ways to reduce the symptoms of allergies. One of these well-researched therapies is acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation and the histamine response that causes allergic symptoms.
GETTING TO THE ROOT CAUSE:
In Chinese Medicine, there is a philosophy that it is best to treat an illness before it has a chance to manifest. As clinicians, we not only take care of symptoms as they arise, but we also aim to identify and treat the root cause of the illness to prevent the symptoms from occurring in the first place. This often includes identifying triggers that provoke an immune response, ranging from foods to chemicals.
As we approach allergy season, now is a great time to restore optimal immune function balance to your body, with the opportunity to avoid or reduce those uncomfortable allergy symptoms that can ruin our enthusiasm to get outside come Spring.
HOW TO ENJOY SPRING THIS YEAR LIKE YOU NEVER HAVE BEFORE:
Spring is a time when we have the chance to absorb the vibrant aromas of budding flowers, hang out on the lawn with friends, go hiking and create our gardens. For many of us, Spring is unfortunately filled with itchy eyes and skin, rashes, congestion, feeling like you can’t take a deep breath, not being able to fully enjoy the outdoors, or feeling foggy and fatigued.
Several research studies have demonstrated that regular acupuncture treatments reduced the allergic histamine and cytokine response and patients overall had fewer symptoms of itchy eyes, throat, and nose.
Did you know….
- Acupuncture is effective at eliminating allergy symptoms as they arise
- Acupuncture has been used to treat seasonal allergies for centuries
- Acupuncture is powerful at preparing and strengthening the body to reduce or avoid those pesky allergic reactions for the entire season
WHY NOT JUST USE ALLERGY MEDICATION?
Although usually safe for occasional use as needed, antihistamines and other allergy medications can be harmful. Certain antihistamines can cause many short-term effects such as urinary retention, constipation, dry mouth, increased appetite. Although, most side effects are mild and stop when a person is no longer taking the antihistamine, some people are at higher risk from chronic antihistamine use.
A more common issue with antihistamines is tolerance build, or lack of clinical effect, which can happen when they are used for more than 4-5 consecutive days.
Besides the risk associated with antihistamines, decongestants can also be harmful, with their potential to increase blood pressure, cause headaches, sleeplessness and irritability. Corticosteroids, which are available as sprays, eye drops, inhalers, creams, and oral pills can cause thinning of skin and mucous membranes, discoloration of the skin, irritation, as well as stomach ulceration, osteoporosis and muscle weakness.
INCREASE THE BENEFITS WITH BOTANICAL MEDICINE:
Several plants contain chemical compounds that can reduce the allergic response. Stinging nettle, magnolia bark, astragalus all have different mechanisms that can reduce histamine and cytokine release and break up mucus in the sinuses and lungs. Quercetin is another plant compound that has been shown to be more effective than over-the-counter antihistamines at controlling common allergic responses. These are simple, natural solutions that can prevent the onset of common hay-fever allergies.
CUPPING CAN HELP TOO:
Adding cupping to your acupuncture experience can further produce allergy relieving results by supporting detoxification and strengthening the immune system. Cupping is a form of non-invasive acupuncture that involves placing a cup along meridian pathways, creating a strong suction which increases circulation and draws out toxins. Allergy-specific cupping sessions typically treat asthma, congestion, phlegm, sinus Issues, excessive coughing, excessive sneezing and headaches.
HOW CUPPING WORKS FOR ALLERGY RELIEF:
For allergy relief, cups are generally placed on and around the lung area, as this helps draw out metabolic waste, increase blood flow, and clear out phlegm that can affect breathing. The lungs are simultaneously soothed and stimulated, as this method increases blood flow and oxygen to the area for rapid healing and recovery.
As Spring approaches, think about doing some internal Spring cleaning and shift towards more seasonally available foods, get out in the sunshine, and stay ahead of allergy symptoms with proven holistic therapies that have the added benefit of balancing a healthy immune response to keep your energy at its highest.