What are allergies and how do they happen?

  • Allergies occur when the body’s immune system misidentifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to the body. An inflammatory reaction takes place in an attempt to eject this substance from the system, resulting in a variety of symptoms.

What are common allergens (substances that produce allergic reactions)?

  • Foods, pollen, animal dander, mold, insect venom, drugs, and dust mites, etc.

 What are the causes and symptoms of allergies in oriental medicine?

  • Wind is the major cause in all cases of allergies, usually combining with another pathogenic influence in dampness, cold, or heat. In seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, the most common diagnosis is wind and dampness. This combination produces a sudden onset of symptoms: sneezing, itching eyes and throat, and a heavy sensation in the head with copious mucus.

What can oriental medicine and acupuncture do to treat allergies?

  • Acupuncture

    • Treatment plans for allergies vary greatly, and the possible results range from temporary relief to complete remission. Acupuncture frequently relieves allergy symptoms immediately. Usually nasal congestion and sneezing can be relieved as soon as the needles are inserted.
  • Herbs

    • The treatment strategy is to repel the wind with herbs that are dispersing in nature. Herbs that drain dampness are also employed in order to clear the nasal passages and sinuses.
      Typically, an underlying weakness, often a deficiency of lung and spleen qi, makes persons with allergies susceptible to allergic reactions. Lung qi is responsible for the proper function of the entire respiratory tract, including the nasal passages. Spleen qi controls the transport of fluids. When spleen qi is impaired, weakening digestive function, it can lead to an overproduction of mucus, which tends to collect in the lungs. This weakness of qi is treated with tonifying herbs that bolster lung and spleen function.
  • Diet

    • Diet plays an important part in controlling seasonal allergies. Sweets, dairy products, and cold foods all tend to increase mucus buildup, putting ice cream and yogurt at the top of the list of foods to avoid during allergy season. When excessive mucus accumulates in the system, allergens stimulate a much stronger allergic reaction. Soups, salads (in warm weather), vegetables, and boiled grains are all easy for the body to digest. When digestion is efficient, there is less of a tendency for mucus to build up.


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