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CHINESE MEDICINE: Natural help for allergies

Traditional Chinese medicine is something to consider if you suffer from seasonal allergies.
Traditional Chinese medicine is something to consider if you suffer from seasonal allergies. - 123RF Stock Photo

It’s that time of year again: allergy season. I’m starting to hear the sniffling and sneezing everywhere around town.

It’s amazing how particles as tiny as pollen can cause so much misery.

Many clients in my traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture practice complain about the itchy eyes, sinus congestion, foggy head and other symptoms of allergies that are so common this time of year.

Antihistamines can help with the symptoms, but many seek a more holistic and longer-term solution.

Traditional Chinese medicine has a different way of looking at immunity than Western medicine. In this ancient system, it is the wei qi that shields us from outside influences.

This layer of porous protective energy runs just below the skin and is an aspect of the lung organ system.

It moderates what gets into the body and what gets released. I think of it as a gatekeeper. If the gates are stuck open, too much gets in and we may be affected by frequent colds and flus, allergies, or, on an emotional level, be overly sensitive to others’ energies, taking on their negative emotions.

Chinese medicine can firm up and balance the body’s protective energy to increase our immunity and decrease allergic reactions. One of the common formulas I prescribe to strengthen wei qi is called jade windscreen.

Using astragalus and other herbs, it creates a strong screen to keep outside influences out. This formula is used not only for allergies, but also to boost immunity to prepare for cold and flu season.

In my practice, I have found acupuncture and Chinese herbs particularly effective in treating sinus issues, such as congestion, pressure, sinus headaches or chronic infection.

Acupuncture and herbs help to open and drain the passages, while at the same time increasing the body’s defences, strengthening the system and reducing reactivity to allergens.

Clients have reported that sinus headaches are reduced and they can breathe freely out of their nose for the first time in a long time. Because the wei qi is connected to the lung, issues in that system are addressed at the same time as strengthening immunity.

Chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma, shortness of breath and skin issues, such as eczema, are all indications of imbalance in the lung system and can be addressed by traditional Chinese medicine.

On an emotional level, the lung is associated with taking in and letting go (think breathing). Chronic grief and sadness are indications of blockage in this system and move through naturally when the lung energy is balanced.

Many of my clients have reported that Chinese medicine has not only decreased their allergy symptoms, but also that they have more energy, feel lighter, happier and better all around.

This is because everything is connected in traditional Chinese medicine and when we treat one aspect of the body, everything is affected.

Many are surprised that even their outlook on life is more positive and their relationships improve. Everyone benefits.

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