Ah, ah, ah…choo! Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of people in my office who suffer from seasonal allergies. If you’re among them, you’re no stranger to the itchy eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing and that “blah” feeling that affects allergy sufferers everywhere. Some people experience allergies year round, but most have symptoms in the spring or fall. While we welcome the warmth of spring after a long winter, or the cool, dry weather of fall, seasonal changes can be physically stressful.
In Chinese medicine, our bodies are surrounded by an outer layer of energy which acts to protect our “exterior” and fight off outside pathogens that cause colds, flu and allergies (similar to our immune system). Pollen, pet dander, dust and mold (to name a few) act like outside pathogens. People who are susceptible to allergies, along with people who get sick a lot tend to have weak exterior energy.
Acupuncture and herbs can help allergy sufferers by reducing symptoms and by strengthening energy to head off problems before they start. Some things you might try during the height of your allergy season include:
-Shower at night to wash the day’s pollen off your body and out of your hair.
-Wash your hands after petting your animals that have been outdoors–they’re covered with pollen.
-Close your windows at night, especially when it’s dry and windy. The best time to open up is after it’s rained, because the rain causes pollen to settle.
-Try nasal irrigation. Your nasal passages act like a filter for pollen, so cleansing them will clean out pollen and clear congestion. We recommend using a Neti pot, which looks like a small tea pot and has been used in India for centuries. You can find Neti pots at most drug stores, health food stores or coops, and should come with directions for use.