Are your springtime allergies making you miserable?
Are your springtime allergies making you miserable? Every year we welcome budding trees, flowers, longer days, and sunny afternoons in the park with open arms. Especially this year when it seemed winter would NEVER end. But for some of us this also means a trip to the pharmacy to pick up some Zyrtec and Allegra just to make it through the day. Sometimes these over the counter antihistamines barely touch our symptoms of itchy watery eyes, noses that feel like a constantly running faucet, sneezing, wheezing, and often a pesky persistent cough. The good news is relief can come in surprising places! Queue your weekly acupuncture session!
Treating Allergies with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been proven to be just as effective if not more effective than these over the counter treatments. And better yet, they work just as quickly! This year I had a taste of my own medicine when I was immediately plagued with allergy symptoms. I have been lucky to have avoided the plague of allergies throughout my life until moving to the South. New flora means new symptoms… instead of running to the pharmacy, I tried a Chinese herbal remedy and within just a few hours I noticed a HUGE difference. I also put a few needles in my face on points to treat allergy symptoms. My eyes no longer felt like sandpaper, my nose stopped dripping, no more sneezing, and my headaches stopped! I can say for certain that Chinese medicine definitely saved the day!
In Chinese medicine springtime allergies, or allergic rhinitis, are seen as the invasion of the external pathogenic factor wind and the blockage of qi to the nose. Allergies can be an excess or deficiency pattern. If one is deficient the wei qi, or defensive qi, is not strong enough to protect the body from invasion of the wind or if there is excess it may be exacerbated by heat or dampness lurking in the body. Some people find that allergies trigger their asthma making breathing difficult or labored. Here acupuncture will work to support the lungs and relieve asthmatic symptoms quickly providing necessary relief. The points selected to treat allergies open the nose, stop the cough, alleviate redness and itchiness in the eyes, and have an antihistamine effect. In the herbal formulas a similar approach is used; certain herbs like Bo He (mint) open the nose and brighten the eyes,Cang Er Zi (xanthium fruit) disperses wind and dampness, Xin Yi Hua (magnolia flower) expels wind and opens the nose, Fang Feng (siler) releases the exterior and expels wind, Bai Zhi (angelica root) expels wind and damp and relieves headache and pain.
Allergy Support for Pregnant Women
Another benefit of acupuncture for allergies is the support it offers for pregnant mamas. Even though Zyrtec is thought to be safe during pregnancy, many women choose not to use any over the counter medications. Many acupuncture points that provide relief are safe during pregnancy and help alleviate these symptoms when it seems nothing else will.
Additional steps to take that will improve allergies include using an air purifier in your bedroom at night while you sleep, supporting your microbiome and gut flora with probiotics or fermented foods at each meal, supporting your organs of elimination- the liver and large intestine, and taking a shower before bed so that your pillows and sheets are not covered in pollen, dust, or dander.
If you’re looking to relieve allergy symptoms without pharmaceutical antihistamines, allergy shots, or medication let you acupuncturist know and she will help you to get the most enjoyment out of the beautiful springtime weather!