Spring is the season of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation. As we wait in anticipation for the buds to bloom and the earth to become lush and vibrant, some of us are also faced with the prospect of spring allergies. Red watery eyes, itchy throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and sinus pressure are just some of the possible symptoms that can inhibit our enjoyment of the warmer weather. Right now we are at a crucial point in the season to intercept allergy symptoms before they begin. The following strategies can help:
Acupuncture: In a feature article on Web MD reviewing natural strategies for the treatment of allergies, Colette Bouchez writes, “In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments. “ (See full article at http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/relieve-allergies-natural-way)
What distinguishes acupuncture from other traditional allergy treatments is that it is geared toward boosting the immune system to enable our bodies to fight external allergens. Each treatment is customized to the patient based on the individual presentation and therefore really targets the root of what’s causing the reaction. For best results, begin treatments before any major symptoms appear.
Herbal Medicine: Many traditional allergy medications, while temporarily effective, also come with an array of side effects. One of the many benefits of Chinese herbal medicine is that formulas are virtually side effect free. Customizable formulas are chosen based on the distinct pattern that a patient is showing so as to specifically address an imbalance in the system. Since the formulas are designed to target the root of what is causing the symptom, rather than the symptom itself, they do not usually need to be taken long-term.
Diet: When it comes to seasonal allergies, simple dietary adjustments can be quite effective. Foods that help promote the smooth functioning of the Liver/Gallbladder channel systems (which are dominant this time of year) often help reduce spring allergy symptoms. These foods tend to be sour in flavor and green in color. Some examples include bok choy, green apple, apricot, berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, plums, pineapple, dandelion, and vinegar. Alcohol and greasy or spicy foods should be limited and if there is a lot of phlegm or congestion, reduce the consumption of sugar and dairy.
Movement: Based on what we see happening around us in nature, it is not surprising that during the spring our bodies crave movement. This is the time of year to increase activity, stretch our limbs, and keep energy circulating. Specific types of movements to target the channels dominant in the spring include lateral stretches that open up the side body and neck, exercises that involve hip rotation, and strengthening and stretching of the inner and outer thighs and shins.
Don’t let allergies put a damper on your spring! By being proactive you can seriously reduce the effects of external allergens on your body and enjoy the beauty of the season.