you happy to see the flowers? Do you look
forward to spring? Do you breathe in deeply
with a smile on your face when you step
Or do you rub your
itchy, red eyes, stifle a sneeze, bring a
tissue to your runny nose, pop a lozenge for
your scratchy throat, and hope for a rainy
If you suffer from
allergies, spring may not be your favourite
season. Iíve been there. I remember walking
to work barely able to see through my puffy
watery eyes. I remember stuffing tissues
into every pocket and up every sleeve, just
Did you know that
just as you can acquire an allergy, you can
also lose allergies?
Chinese Medicine has the tools to make that
change. The first step is to determine where
your body went off track. A consultation
would include questions about your specific
symptomsóis your problem more runny nose or
itchy eyes? Do you have any food allergies
or sensitivities? How long have you had
seasonal allergies? What do you eat? Do you
sleep well? Howís your digestion? Do you get
sick often? And so on.
Once your TCM
diagnosis is established, a treatment plan
is created and may include herbs,
acupuncture, biopuncture, nutritional
guidance, and/or supplements.
My patients who
had a few treatments last fall for their spring
allergies are now doing much better
than the average sniffling bear.
have we been doing? In the spring we treat
the "branch" and the "root", i.e. the
symptoms and the cause. Runny or stuffy
nose? Herbs like xi xin can help clear the
sinuses. My favourite acupuncture points,
LI20 (beside the nostrils), are an almost
sure-fire way to open up the nasal passages.
In the fall, we treat one of the main
"roots", the Lung system. We strengthen or
clear the Lungs, depending on the patient,
with herbs like huang qi or huang qin. We
acupuncture the Lung channel. I have my
patients practice breathing exercises. I may
also suggest other supplements like phytosterols to modulate the immune system.
And of course it's important to look at the
diet. Are there foods that are further
aggravating a person's immune system? Foods
that the patient is allergic or sensitive
to? Let's substitute in different foods that
support the body.
Did you know that one theory about allergies
is called "Total Load"? Let's say that you
have an allergy to gluten or milk, but with
just the food alone you have no obvious
symptoms. Then you add in grass and kaboom...allergies.
Since you can't necessarily avoid grass, you
can avoid the foods to lessen the total load
and eliminate or limit your allergic
Need more help? A study in Allergy
had 52 patients with allergic rhinitis
randomly assigned to receive acupuncture and
Chinese herbs or sham acupuncture (fake
acupuncture) and fake herbs for six weeks.
Almost 85% of those receiving the real
treatment had a full improvement in their
allergy symptoms versus only 40% improvement
in those with the placebo treatment.
Itís not too late. If
you have allergies, whether to spring
seasonal elements or to cats and dogs, dust,
foods, or other, you donít have to suffer.