By Mikiala Christie
Yes, spring is around the corner and what often accompanies the arrival of springtime? Cute bunnies and chocolate eggs, flowers and merriment.
While the coming of spring is an exciting time for most people, allergy sufferers would beg to differ. The never-ending sneezing, stuffiness, and lethargy prevents those with allergies from frolicking in the fields of daisies and singing like Julie Andrews.
However, there are steps that you can take to cope.
Let’s first look at why you are suffering in the first place: an allergic reaction is your body’s way of telling you that your immune system is weak. According to Chinese medicine your lungs regulate part of your immune system. If your lungs are not working at their best they become easily inflamed and your body is more vulnerable to attack. When the lung tissue is inflamed it swells up with mucous to combat the perceived pathogen (allergen).
What can you do to minimize the swelling and inflammation?
First and most importantly, protect your immune system by eating a healthy and regular diet. A diet rich in fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables with lots of whole grains will help your body have enough nourishment to overcome disease more quickly.
Avoid dairy, refined sugar and packaged and or fast food as these foods contribute to inflammation within the body.
Acupressure: certain acupressure points can help stimulate your lung function and also help drain your sinuses.
Lung 1: located at a deep hole beneath your collar bone. Massage two to three times per day for one minute.
LI 20: located on each side of your nostrils, feel for a hole located between your eyebrows. Press and massage each point for one minute (Yintang: massage up and across eyebrows).
What else can you do naturally?
Acupuncture works by decreasing the histamine response which helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation. In 1995, a study of acupuncture on patients with allergic asthma demonstrated a reduction in IgA levels. IgA is an immunoglobulin involved in allergic reactions.
Certain herbs can also help with allergy attacks: xanthium and magnolia help to open up the nasal passages and mint can help clear up the inflammation.
No matter what course of action you take overcoming allergies will always be a combination of self care and professional care. Taking the right steps will have you tip toeing through the tulips in no time.
Mikiala Christie BA, R.TCM.P is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbologist who practices in Sidney.