What aren’t we allergic to these days? According to a report by ABC news, people can be allergic to water, cell phones, allergy medications, the heat or the cold, chocolate, exercise (Yes, I did say that. The condition is called exercise-induced anaphylaxis), and the laundry list continues. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, “More than half (54.6%) of all U.S. citizens test positive to one or more allergens.”
Western medicine says that allergies result from an imbalance in the immune system due to an overreaction to the stimuli of pollens, dust, fungi, and other airborne irritants. In the system of Chinese medicine, allergies result from a combination of imbalances in the body. Each person may require different treatment. A surprising area of imbalance with allergies for some may be connected to hormones. If you’ve had a lot of stress in your life, your hormones may not be in balance. When they are out of balance, you may begin reacting negatively to any number of stimuli in your environment. This is also why allegies might get worse with menopause.
Researchers from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health, along with several Australian institutions found that children living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are twice as likely to develop food allergies, compared to those in areas with higher UV. Clearly there is more than an immune system overreaction at play.
Natural treatments can alleviate the severity of allergies and even prevent them from coming on. Using acupuncture and Chinese herbs several months or even a few weeks before allergy season arrives will prevent symptoms and possibly cure your allergies. Conventional allergy medications might help symptoms as well, but they tend to have more side effects and don’t solve the problem.
Western herbs, homeopathy and some basic nutritional supplements also can alleviate symptoms of allergies. Many natural products actually work the better than some antihistamines work, by stabilizing your immune system so it doesn’t react.
According to Chinese medicine each season is associated with a major organ that is more sensitive to imbalance during that time of year. Springtime is the season of the liver. Amongst other functions, the liver rules the smooth flow of energy in the body, deals with stress, and regulates the menstrual cycles. It is sensitive to wind and rules the emotion of anger.
Over the years of working with Allergies and Chinese medicine, I’ve observed that people tend to be somewhat irritable in springtime, especially on windy days. Sneezing is called rebellious qi, where the energy of the lungs is going in the wrong direction. This is usually provoked when wind stirs up the liver energy. In my experience I have many clients who find it hard to live in our high paced, modern lives. We’ve forgotten that we were once much more connected to our earth and our environment. Perhaps allergies are a way of rebelling.