How to Manage Seasonal Allergies During Peak Seasons
Allergies! The running nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, dry eyes, and sneezing attacks. Once we feel the symptoms, we know we are doomed for a good while until our body adjusts. Feeling discombobulated with the limited sleep and sometimes focus when we have the whole array of seasonal allergies flowing about.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM), allergies are seen as a slow or limited flow of energy (Qi). This energy flow (Qi) should be able to flow smoothly throughout our body with free passage. In TCM, the defensive aspect of our defense mechanism is called "Wei Qi" or also known as "Defensive Qi". It helps to defend our bodies as a barrier or gate from outside pathogens that might affect the flow of energy and make us feel ill or cause other unwanted ailments. When allergies hit us, this is when our Wei Qi is down and pollen, grass fibers, mold spores or dust, to name a few, enter our body causing an inflammatory response within our immune system.
Taking over the counter antihistamines help temporarily but can also worsen the symptoms by creating more inflammation.
So before the allergy season kicks in full gear, let’s throw in some ways to manage, reduce or even prevent them from reaching out of control.
1) Remove Inflammatory Foods
During the an increase of seasonal allergies, it is best to avoid or eliminate inflammatory foods that could add to already inflamed tissue. Such food would be: fried or greasy food, dairy, artificial or processed sugar, and alcohol. These foods add to inflammation and increase mucus production. By avoiding or eliminating them helps to manage symptoms and decrease the inflammation response.
2) Clean Nasal Passages
One of the reasons why allergies kick up is due to the irritants getting caught in the nasal passages and tissue lining in the sinus canal. One great way to minimize allergy symptoms is to clear the sinuses with irrigation. One could use a Nettie pot to flush out irritants and mucus build up. This helps to ensure a clear pathway for air but also rids any potential invaders.
3) Steam Pot
This is a great way to open the sinuses, especially if they are already clogged. The warmth and moisture from the steam will help to loosen up congestion, reduce inflammation and irritation as well as thin the mucus.
Boil water. Then pour the boiling water in a large porcelain, metal or heat resistant bowl. Be aware of the temperature is not too hot. The skin on the face is thin and sensitive, which can burn easily. Drape a dry towel over your head then hover over the large bowl of water at about 10-12 inches away from the bowl. Take in deep, slow breaths with your eyes closed. Do so for about 10-15 minutes, no more than that. For the hot water could be too warm after longer period of time. Repeat throughout the day about two or three times to keep the passages clear. Essential oils are a great addition to use in the water.
4) Essential Oils
I love to mix essential oils in the process of being able to ward off allergies. They are great for on-the-go. Different oils that can be used are eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, lemon, and tea tree. A few great ways to incorporate these to manage allergy season are adding them to a bath, diffuser or used during a massage.
In TCM, herbal therapy is huge for allergies. The herbal treatment works great to calm the inflammation, reduce swelling, moisten the eyes, relieve nasal congestion or runny nose. Herbs can come in the form of capsules, ground up in granules or even in raw form of twigs and leaves. Work great in combination with acupuncture and cupping.
Acupuncture is a great way to manage and prevent seasonal allergies. It does so by treating the symptoms as well as the root cause. In this case, the inflammatory response and boosting the immune system to better regulate the inflammation. Bonus is reducing stress, feeling relaxed, and possibly a nice nap during treatment.
This form of therapy helps to remove toxins, reduce inflammation, detox the body, and open the lungs. It also helps to increase blood flow and oxygen. Cupping involves the use of glass, plastic, silicone or porcelain cups that are applied using a form of suction and then placed on the skin. Left for about 15-20 minutes to allow the blood and toxins to circulate to the surface of the skin. This helps the body to detox all the unwanted or stuck blood and unwanted waste to be pushed out of the body, giving the body a chance to regulate itself.
Seasonal allergies don't need to be a time of suffering. Preparing the immune system and riding the body of the triggers can ease a lot of stress during the transitional seasons. Give these methods a try to see what works best for you.