Breathe Freely: Natural Allergy Solutions
Are red, watery eyes and a swollen nose your trademark spring look? Many allergy sufferers dread the coming spring. Life becomes round after round of antihistamines and nasal sprays. Shanghai’s damp, dusty (and polluted) environment is a nightmare for many allergy and asthma sufferers.
Ancient Chinese Wisdom: The Root Causes of Allergies
TCM interprets allergies as a disharmony in the body. It is often diagnosed as a “wind” influence accompanied by another pathogenic factor like dampness or heat which disturbs the balance of your system. Additionally, allergy sufferers are often thought to have an underlying weakness of the lung or spleen system.
Natural Solutions for Allergy Sufferers
TCM tackles allergies with a combination of herbs, diet and acupuncture. Specific herbs can help eliminate the wind from the patient’s body, clear the nasal passages and sinuses and soothe itchy eyes. Mucus is related to the digestive system, hence a healthy digestion results in less mucus production. Sweets, dairy and cold foods increase mucus and should be avoided. Acupuncture supports the healing process by giving temporary relief and sometimes generating complete remission.
The Annals of Internal Medicine reported on a 2013 study done at Charité-University Medical Center in Berlin, in which allergy sufferers who received acupuncture required less antihistamine medication. Acupuncture has proven effective for relieving headaches, a frequent allergy symptom.
A Patient Success Story
Julie Sanchez suffered from hay fever most of her life and developed asthma as an adult. Her asthma had been under control but flared up again during her move to Shanghai. Julie spent her first day in Shanghai getting urgent care for her asthma. Soon after arriving, Julie began taking classes at the Community Center about TCM led by Doris Rathgeber. She fell in love with the TCM approach and realized this might be what she needed.
Julie was treated with a combination of acupuncture, cupping and Chinese herbs. When asked how she felt about acupuncture (those needles make a lot of us hesitant!), Julie said she often fell asleep during treatment. Julie’s symptoms improved greatly and she’s been able to put aside her inhalers and pills. She was even able to breathe well on those horrible days when the AQI hit red levels!
Julie has become a huge fan of TCM and is learning more about TCM concepts. She believes TCM will become more integrated with Western medicine. She pursued her therapy in the US after leaving Shanghai and is grateful she found TCM through her China experience.
While Shanghai might work against those of us who suffer from allergies and respiratory ailments, being here also gives us the opportunity to explore different approaches to healing our bodies.
If you are suffering from allergies and would like to explore natural ways to resolve them, contact Body & Soul to schedule a TCM consultation. If you want to read more about Chinese herbs, click here for natural remedies for sinusitis and here for TCM herbs for allergy sufferers.