I love springtime, when every week a new tree, bush, or flower pops open in bloom. I put away the snowshoes and start planning spring hikes to see the wildflowers at Dog Mountain. Spring in Portland seems to stretch out for months as we are blessed with such beautiful diversity of plant life.
For people suffering from seasonal allergies, this time of year comes with not so pleasant side-effects of runny or stuffy noses, itchy watering eyes, and sneezing. On top of that, medication to help alleviate these symptoms often leaves people feeling sleepy and foggy-headed.
In Chinese Medicine seasonal allergies stem from an underlying deficiency combined with a seasonal reaction to pollen particles. According to Chinese Medicine theory, there is often a Lung and Kidney deficiency in people who suffer from seasonal allergies. The Lung and Kidneys in Chinese Medicine are important for a strong immune systems. The Lung circulate what we refer to as the defensive Qi in the body and the Kidneys are the storehouse of our deepest reserve of energy. When these two system are constitutionally low, the body becomes less resilient to the winds of spring which cause pollen to enter the respiratory track.
Acupuncture treatments often use a combination of acupuncture and heat therapy to strengthen any weakness in the body, while also directly addressing the symptoms of an acute attack of allergies. In this way, acupuncture and Chinese herbs take a two pronged approach, relieving the symptoms of seasonal allergies AND strengthening your immune system to make you less susceptible to the effects of pollen and other allergens.
Timing for treatment of seasonal allergies isn't always intuitive. Most patients seek treatment for allergies during an acute flare-up of symptoms. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are powerful in their ability to clear up symptoms in the acute phase without the unpleasant side-effects of anti-histamines. However, for long-term relief it is important to also treat seasonal allergies during off-seasons. By focusing on strengthening your underlying deficiency and boosting your immune system when your body isn't burdened with acute allergy symptoms, acupuncture and Chinese herbs work to reduce your susceptibility to the yearly return of seasonal allergies.