How can acupuncture and herbal medicine help you with allergies?
1) Build the Immune System and defense system of the body
When a person has allergies. Their body’s defense system in weakened and has a hard time fighting off allergens. Both acupuncture and herbs can strengthen the body’s natural defense mechanisms so when external pathogens are present, the allergens do not cause such a large immune response.
2) Prevent the release of Histamine
Just like many allergy patients start taking bee pollen and other prophylactics a couple months before allergy season, you can do the same with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. There are very effective formulas that will prevent the release of histamine from ever happening. Specific acupuncture points will provide a synergistic effect with the herbs.
3) Lessen severity of allergy symptoms when already present.
Acupuncture is used frequently for acute relief of allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, blocked nasal passages, sinus headache, itchy eyes and throat. Local points are commonly used to provide instant relief during a treatment.
4) Strengthen the Lungs
The lungs play a huge role in the health of a patient with allergies, asthma, recurrent colds and a history of respiratory issues. Most of the time, the person suffering from allergies will present with the Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis of Lung qi deficiency, in which acupuncture and herbs are incredibly effective at treating.
5) Open the chest
When the body is constantly attacked by allergens, the chest may become tight and breathing will become difficult, labored and short. If the lung energy can descend properly, the lungs are able to inhale and allow complete chest expansion. Being able to take a deep, full breath not only helps with providing the body all the oxygen it needs, it also decreases stress and aids in the ability for the body to cope with allergies.
6) Dissolve phlegm and mucus.
In Chinese medicine, the Spleen and Stomach are the underlying organs, responsible for phlegm and mucus. Herbs and acupuncture are able to clear dampness and phlegm from the Spleen and Stomach channels which in turn dries up excess fluids in the body. This also increases metabolism and circulation to clear allergens out of the body faster.
7) Decrease inflammation in the body
Histamine is an inflammatory response in the body so when histamines release, it is important to reduce internal inflammation of the membranes as soon as possible before all the normal allergy symptoms start arising. Acupuncture and herbs are able to calm the immune response and decrease swelling and inflammation of the body tissues.
8) Detoxification of the body from allergens and other toxins
The liver is responsible for filtering the toxins that infiltrate the body. The liver can be weak (in Chinese medicine terms usually Liver yin xu or Liver qi xu) so therefore, the acupuncturist chooses acupuncture points and herbs to strengthen the Liver and increase it’s ability to process through all of the environmental allergens and toxins more easily.
9) Restore proper function of the respiratory tract and nasal passages
It is very easy for allergies to block the respiratory tract and nasal passages and therefore hinder the ability for them to work smoothly. By using the reducing/clearing method in acupuncture and choosing herbs that remove stagnation from the airways, patients with allergies are able to breathe again without a persistent cough or constant runny nose.
10) Alleviate watery, red and itchy eyes
The eyes in Traditional Chinese Medicine are linked to the Liver meridian as well. When listening to a practitioner speak, they may refer to it as “Liver Wind.” Then formulas and acupuncture points to “dispel wind” from the Liver channel would be used to stop eye irritation during an allergic episode.
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About the author: Crystal Jancovic, L.Ac is co-founder of Lakewood Community Acupuncture in Lakewood, Colorado, which is the first non-profit community acupuncture clinic in the state. She believes fully in offering affordable healthcare to her community and becoming an active community member through supporting local businesses, growing her own food with her family, attending community events and keeping her patients healthy and happy.