Spring Allergies

It’s the end of March, which means seasonal allergies are right around the corner right? So maybe that’s wishful thinking here in Madison this year.  However, it really is the time to start protecting yourself against seasonal allergies, especially if you are one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from sneezing, wheezing, congestion, runny nose and itchy watery eyes due to seasonal allergies. 

Photo by K. Coppola

Photo by K. Coppola

Allergies are a hypersensitivity of your immune system.  If your immune system is over burdened, it is more likely to overreact.  Both western medicine and more natural medicines recommend that someone who suffers from allergies should start treatment 3 weeks before the onset of pollen and other allergens. This allows your immune system to be in tip-top shape and therefore less likely to be hypersensitive.

Last year a study of 422 people confirmed that participants who received 12 acupuncture treatments over 8 weeks “showed a greater improvement in their allergy symptoms and less use of antihistamines [rescue medicine] compared to the other groups.”  Participants also said that they experienced an improved disease-specific quality of life. Acupuncture works by boosting your immune system, opening airways and thinning congestive mucous.  

You can reduce the impact of seasonal allergic reactions by lightening the burden of your immune system.  One-way to do this to do avoid any foods that you have even a mild sensitivity to.  This takes being mindful of what you eat and how it affects you.  Foods like bananas, sugar (use local honey instead), dairy and alcohol will all increase the mucous in your body. If you’re already congested or your immune system is working overtime, these foods will add to the burden.  Adding a little spice, all in moderation can help to thin mucous. Consider adding a little raw onion, mustard and garlic to your food to open nasal passages. 

What do you do when you have acute symptoms and nothing seems to be working?  Here are some acupuncture points to massage for a little extra relief.  (See photo below)  1. Place your pinky on the outside of the bottom of your nose and press toward the opposite eye.  2. Place your ring finger in the depression directly below the center of your eye, press downward.  3. Place your middle finger the inside of your eyebrow, pressing upward and/or you can press on the middle part of your eyebrow.

Photo Credit: K. Coppola

Photo Credit: K. Coppola