Allergies and What You Can Do for Yourself Naturally
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 who are allergic to spring time pollens and dust 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 is hope! You can help your body handle the allergy season more effectively.
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. Everyone else is also exposed to the same pollens yet they do not suffer from the same reaction. In Chinese medicine we say that your first line of defense is your skin which is regulated by your lungs. 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). The Chinese medical perspective considers the nasal passage to be an extension of the lungs. Therefore, aside from sneezing and stuffiness, you may also have spasms in your lung tissue which can aggravate your asthma and have you reaching for the inhaler more often.
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.
- Exercise regularly as it expands your lungs and brings in fresh oxygen which also helps clear your lungs or sinuses of any excess mucous.
- Acupressure: certain acupressure points can help stimulate your lung function and also help drain your sinuses.
- Lung 1 and Lung 7- massage 2-3 times per day for 1 minute each point. (see arm picture)
- LI 20 & B 2 & St 3-(see face image) press and massage each point for 1 minute.
What else can you do naturally?
There are certain therapies that can help “re-set” your body by helping to stimulate your immune system. Acupuncture works by decreasing the histamine response which helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation. Acupuncture can also strengthen your immune system by making you more resistance to the allergen and can also increase your energy. 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. Other therapies such as chiropractic and massage can also stimulate your body’s immune system.
Certain herbs can help with allergy attacks: xanthium and magnolia help to open up the nasal passages and mint can help clear up the inflammation. A combination of astragalus, atractylodes and ledebouriellae helps to strengthen the lung function and has been used in China for centuries.
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!