Spring is an exciting time for most because it's a sign summer and fun are just around the corner. However, for a lot of people, it's hard to enjoy the more beautiful weather because they are too busy sneezing and itching their eyeballs out due to seasonal allergies. And trust me, I get it ...coming from a girl who is allergic to every environmental thing they test you for, yes even dog dander, I get the frustration. I've dealt with spring and fall allergies my entire life, and it's the first reason that I sought out acupuncture. I've also experienced an unfavorable "withdraw" coming off a popular over the counter allergy medication, which led me to some more natural ways of combating the greenish yellow stuff covering my car. So here's what I've found that works for me.
Acupuncture and Allergies
Through the lens of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, allergies may arise from a variety of patterns of disharmony such as wind-cold invading the lungs, wei qi deficiency with damp-phlegm, and kidney/lung deficiency. In my practice, I tend to see a mixture of wei qi and lung deficiency with a side of damp. Acupuncture can help boost the wei qi, clear our the damp-phlegm, and strengthen the lungs and kidneys to help ease the signs and symptoms concerning allergies. If you want to learn more from an acupuncture point of view, continue below, if not feel free to skip to the next section.
Wei qi, also called Defensive qi, is the energy that circulates right under the skin and can be viewed as our immune system. It is the energy that helps us from getting sick and keeps external pathogens out of the body. Allergies trigger a response from our wei qi mechanism and therefore sneezing becomes a common symptom of the body trying to rid itself of this external pathogen, in this case, pollen. When the nose becomes stuffy, this is s sign that the lungs may be affected or that there is damp accumulation, also known as snot. The lungs are associated with the nose. Our nose helps filter out pathogens and keeps them from coming into the body. That's why when we get sick, the color of the snot may be clear, and as our sickness gets worse, it may change to yellow or green or go from watery to thick. As the color of the mucus changes to yellow and green, this is a sign that heat is starting to develop and one reason why a person may develop a sore throat. A person may also develop a sore throat because the pathogen has crept into the body past the nose, and now is affecting the throat. People who are prone to lung qi deficiency are also those who tend to get sick a lot more often. Kidney and lung deficiency together may show up with signs of wheezing when encountering an allergen. The kidneys are said to anchor the breath and are involved with our inhale, while our lungs are responsible for our exhale. Therefore wheezing is a disruption in the flow of inhaling and exhale, which shows possible signs of deficiency. Coughing is also another sign lungs or lungs and kidneys are affected. Disharmony between the lungs and kidneys is also one reason that people experience asthma.
Having a clean diet during this time of year is very important, especially if you suffer from a congested nose during allergy season. Eliminating dairy and damp producing foods can be especially helpful. Some other damp foods that may be worth cutting back on during the season are sugar, bananas, fried, greasy foods, fatty meats, processed foods. On the other hand, adding a spicy meal can help support the lungs and clear the nose.
By using local honey, you're are ingesting a small amount of the pollen that you are allergic too, and over time, your body becomes less sensitive to the pollen. It's kind of like getting an allergy shot. That is why it's key to use local honey.
After having an adverse reaction to an over the counter medication for allergies, I decided to try doTERRA's TriEase capsule for as needed allergy relief. The Tri-Ease capsule is a mixture of peppermint, lemon, and lavender. Together these three oils help to cleans and calm the body as well as promote clear breathing. These oils can also be used aromatically through a diffuser to support the same benefits. Here is the breakdown, from doTERRA, regarding the benefits of each oil:
Lemon Peel: cleaning to the body's systems and frequently used for respiratory discomfort*
Lavender Flower: renowned for its calming and balancing effects*
Peppermint Plant: promotes clear breathing and healthy respiratory function*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.