Acupuncture and Chinese Dietary Therapy for Allergies
Acupuncture can be very helpful for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, and can help address the root cause of allergic reactions as well as the common symptoms. If you suffer from allergies you are probably familiar with these symptoms – all of which I have seen shift with patients in my acupuncture clinic – including nasal congestion, sore throat, itchy eyes, a sensation of fogginess or heaviness in the head, or just general fatigue and overall sluggishness. A recent study and CNN report confirms that Acupuncture can be an effective tool allergy sufferers.
A series of at least 12 treatments weekly or twice weekly, followed by maintenance visits, can help keep your overall balance and support your well being; making you stronger, and less prone to stress and ill health. Chinese Medicine views symptoms not as problems in their own right, but as signals that the body is out of balance. Once balance is re-established, the body no longer needs to signal agitation and symptoms often resolve in the process.
It is very helpful but not necessary to start coming in before allergy season if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Acupuncture can help address your imbalances before your body is further taxed by environmental factors.
Beyond coming in for acupuncture treatment, dietary changes can also be quite beneficial and are often a necessary step to relieve your symptoms over the long-term. According to Chinese dietary therapy, if you suffer from allergies you should focus on keeping a “warm digestion” – this means avoiding raw foods (salads) or very cold-natured food or drink. Allergy sufferers should also refined sugars, foods that are dense and difficult to digest (deep-fried, oily foods) and dairy, all contributors to phlegm in the sinuses. If this sounds a bit depressing to you, I promise that there are ways to make it enjoyable, and it is less limited than it seems! Each person’s needs, depending on their Chinese Medicine diagnosis, will be slightly different.
One of my favorite resources for better understanding Chinese Dietary Therapy approaches in a western context is Paul Pitchford’s classic: Healing with Whole Foods – if you are curious to know how food affects our vital qi, or energy in everyday life.
Once your allergy symptoms improve, you may be able to incorporate some of these foods, with moderation, into your diet. After being symptom-free, you may choose to avoid them altogether and opt for whole foods – nutrient-dense vegetables, legumes, and grains – that offer you better nutrition and support. Books such as Healing with Whole Foods provide many recipes to support a nutrient rich diet. I also often recommend supplements such as freeze-dried nettles, Quercitin and Bromelain, Butterburr (PA-free), Elderberry syrup and Vitamin C, and local honey to allergy sufferers, depending on their needs and constitution.
Blocked emotions can also be a primary cause of allergies, which are can also be viewed as “uncried tears.” Acupuncture and a willingness to look into one’s one self with love and forgiveness can help relieve many allergy symptoms. Many people find that they are able to process long-held repressed emotions through their treatments.
An important piece of treating allergies completely: don’t wait until symptoms are aggravated and acute. If you struggled with allergies this spring or fall, now is the time to get regular Acupuncture treatment. Taking steps to address allergies ahead of time allows your practitioner to strengthen the underlying imbalance and prevent symptoms from arising in the seasons to come. Read more about how Five Element Acupuncture can you help you stay in balance throughout the seasons here.