Category: Allergies

Hay fever and Allergy with acupuncture

With spring here, so is pollen season, which is not good news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in this country, affecting three million Australians. Now is a great time to get some with acupuncture if you suffer from hay fever or allergies

Hayfever is caused by an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa, the antigens responsible are the pollen particles in the air. There is also an over-activity of the immune system to certain allergens, this is weakened with retention of chronic wind in the nose cavity.

The main hayfever symptoms are as nasal congestion, sneezing, profuse runny nose with white watery discharge, pale complexion and slight headaches. In a few cases it affects the eyes and conjunctiva may become red and itchy. These are classified as wind cold symptoms according to Chinese Medicine. We aim to expel these wind cold symptoms and restore the energy of the Lung. The Lung organs weakness is either hereditary or due to problems during pregnancy or childbirth (Maciocia, 2000).

Woman with hay fever

Some other tips to reduce hay fever and allergy symptoms naturally and without medications include:

  1. Eat kiwifruit is extremely high in Vitamin C, which is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Kiwifruit also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. Other foods containing Vitamin C and bioflavanoids include citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango.
  2. Green fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A. This vitamin is important for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function, prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce inflammation.
  3. Take garlic to helps clear nasal congestion. Its strong antibiotic properties also help prevent secondary respiratory infections in chronic suffers. It is also a good source of quercetin, a natural anti-histamine. 
  4. Reduce or eliminate cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever symptoms. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
  5. Reduce stress levels and calm down. There have been links of stress to the severity of hay fever symptoms.
  6. Exercise more. Regular exercise can reduce your hay fever. It is suggested that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels, too.
  7. Eat well. People with hay fever who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  8. Reduce alcohol intake. Beer, wine and other spirits contain histamine, which can make symptoms worse.
  9. Have a good night sleep. Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. People with hay fever who sleep well tend to have milder symptoms.
  10.  Reduce excessive sugar intake. This causes inflammation around the sinus.
  11. Do not have cold drinks or foods for dinner especially before bed e.g: ice creams, cold fruits

    In the old Chinese medical texts is it said that spring is the beginning of things, when the energy of the body should be kept open. In spring on a physical level, we need to exercise more frequently and wear loose fitting clothing. Stretch to loosen up tendons and muscles from the cold winter. Spring is the season of the liver, and excess anger, frustration, depression, sadness or excess emotions can injure the liver. Violating the natural order of spring will cause cold illness during summer.
    We should all treat disease by preventing illness before it begins, rather than treat an illness after it has begun. An ancient proverb says: “If someone digs a well when thirsty or forges weapons after becoming engaged in battle, one cannot help ask, ‘Aren’t these actions too late?’”

Health Tips for Spring

Spring is the season of a new birth and new growth. It corresponds to the “Wood” element and is related to the liver and gallbladder organs. In Chinese Medicine the liver organ is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) in our bodies. This qi circulates throughout the whole body system, when the liver functions smoothly, all physical and emotional actions throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Liver Qi (Energy)!

We are more susceptible to season health problems such as allergies, flu and pneumonia during the spring.  If the liver is not healthy, it could affect the spleen and the lung organs.  These symptoms can include: sneezing, hay fever allergies, running nose, itching eyes, chest congestions and other allergy related problems.  It is very important, especially during spring, to cleanse the liver and lungs and bring balance to these organs.

Tips for a healthy Spring Season:

  1. Pay attention to weather changes – It is an extreme change to our body from winter to spring. With spring, there is usually some extremely windy conditions. Health conditions tend to occur during or immediately following a change of season.
  1. Do some stretches! The liver controls the tendons. The liver stores the blood during periods of rest and winter, now is the time to invigorate and body and increase exercises such as yoga, tai chi, swimming etc.
  1. Change the diet – We should change our diet according to the season. Spring means eating green foods that cleanses and strengthens the liver. These foods include young plants that are fresh green leafy vegetables, onions, leeks, mushrooms, celery, carrots, dandelion, variety of fruits such as citrus fruits, pears, apples, bananas, pears.
  1. Sour foods and drinks – sour tasting foods stimulate the liver’s energy. Add lemon slices to your water, have orange and citrus juices, use vinegar and olive oil for salad dressings and add fermented vegetables to our diet.
  1. Watch the eyes – the liver organ’s energy is connected and opens into the eye. Take frequent breaks from the computer screen and do some eye exercises and look at some greenery.
  1. Sour Tasting Foods – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.
  1. Outdoor activities fresh air helps move liver qi. Try taking a hike, brisk walks by the beach or park are good for the body.
  1. Get Acupuncture – now is the time to get that seasonal tune up.

Tip for a healthy body through Autumn

Autumn is upon us! In Chinese Medicine this seasonal change brings about changes to one’s health and we need to be careful so as not to get sick at this change of season. Chinese Medicine describes the nature’s seasonal changes with a big emphasis on energy. We need to make our own changes within our body and lifestyle as each season shifts so we can be as healthy as possible and not fall ill. As autumn sees a big increase in colds, coughs and allergies.

Each season the health challenge for us is to harmonise our energy and body with the greater energy of nature. Seasonal changes represents a move between yin and yang. Autumn is the yin energy replacing the big yang energy of summer. This energy is moving inward and downwards in autumn towards the earth, as opposed to out and up in summer. Therefore with the new season upon us we need to balance our health with the right diet and lifestyle. As summer is slowing down and autumn approaching our bodies are also going through a change in energy internally.

Autumn is related to the metal element. This means dryness, coolness and winds are more extreme. With autumn comes organs connected to the Lungs and Large Intestine, as the Lungs need oxygen from the air and the large intestines removes waste. Lung and skin issues are more prevalent at this time with dry skin, dry cough and constipation.
Metal relates to the emotion of grief and letting go. This is the time to let go of emotional baggage you have been carrying and remember to breathe (from the belly). Just like the trees of nature do not hold onto their leaves for next year. Be receptive to the new, eliminate what you no longer need!! Just like our large intestine function is to also enable us to let go of our waste products.

Foods to eat in autumn include cooked organic root vegetables such as beetroots, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, yams, celeriac etc. Things that grow under the ground. Avoid raw and cold foods such as ice-cream, cold drinks, cold vegetables, juices, salads etc and op for foods that are warm soups, stews, bakes, braising and warm drinks. Foods that are warm and nourishing will be better for the health and the lungs.

Eat more foods that can moisten our lungs and digestion including pears and apples. You can also add onions, fresh ginger to the diet to assist with colds or allergies.

With exercise try to avoid heavy aerobics as it can drain your vital energy and weaken your immune system. Instead do more gently forms of exercise such as walking, tai chi and yoga.

Remember to go to bed early during autumn and rise early. In Chinese theory, one’s sleep habits should also adjust with the seasons. As the days get shorter in autumn, sleep earlier to avoid the cold nights and wake up to the early morning sun. As the weather cools more, remember to avoid the cold by wearing a scarf or light jacket when outside in the wind.

NOW is the time to come in for your acupuncture seasonal tune up.