Spring is almost upon us! In addition to beautiful weather, sunshine and flowers, spring brings seasonal allergies. For people suffering from allergies, the congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing can be debilitating!
Luckily, Chinese medicine has a treatment for seasonal allergies that treats both the “root” and “branch” of the disorder. TCM looks to the lung channel as the culprit of allergies. The lung is the body’s first line of defense against external pathogens. This concept is similar to catching a cold/flu, and seasonal allergies are treated in the same manner. Since seasonal allergies are so closely tied with the external environment, they are viewed as an external invasion. If the lung is not strong enough to ward off foreign invaders, the body becomes more susceptible to seasonal allergies.
Many allergy symptoms are located on the face and in the head. This means the energy is not flowing smoothly from the head to body and the body to the head and face. Acupuncture opens the channels to allow the energy to flow in the proper direction. But just as importantly, acupuncture helps balance the overall body to address the underlying cause of the allergies. When the body is in balance, the allergy symptoms either go away or are greatly diminished. In essence, acupuncture and Chinese medicine promotes healing of any health concern, whether it be physical or emotional by bringing a person back in balance.
There are several ways to support the lung qi so that allergies will be less severe. First, regular acupuncture treatments are used to strengthen the lung qi and support its protective properties. Starting treatment at least 1-month prior to allergy season is best, as it gives the body time to reinforce itself. Also, Chinese herbs such as Astragalus and Cinnamon can be used to support the qi and expel external pathogens. As with any Chinese herbal formula, these formulas are customized for each patient based on their unique set of symptoms. Finally, diet is very important in treating allergies. Avoiding dairy products (which produce phlegm) and eating a few “spicy” foods, like onion and scallions, are important in releasing pathogens from the lung.