October 20, 2014

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Allergies : A TCM Perspective

October 27, 2014

 

Allergies : A TCM Perspective.

 

Western science defines allergies are typically caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. Almost one in five Americans are affected, and for some the Western treatment leads to more problems. During the spring/fall months, many patients seek Chinese medicine as an effective alternative. To help better understand these treatments, here are some of the most common questions and FAQs about the season of allergies.

 

Why do only some people suffer from allergies and others seem to be unaffected?

Here the most common misconception about allergies is that they are caused by external stimuli like pollen, pine, mold, and dust. The reality is that allergies are actually a sign of a malfunctioning immune system. In this case, allergens cause the body to release inflammatory chemicals, one of which is histamine. This can cause itchy, watery swollen eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and in some cases even hives and rashes. 

In the theory of yin and yang, there is cold and hot.  Pertaining to the seasons, they are summer and winter. During these two seasons our immunity is at its strongest.  The transition from winter to summer and summer to winter is when our immunity is put to the test because spring/fall are neither yin nor yang.

 

What is typical course of treatment?

Western medicine relies on two courses of treatment for allergies -- avoidance and desensitization by injections or medications. You can try to eliminate your exposure to these allergens, but unless you live in a bubble, this is impractical. Many doctors will suggest the use of air filters, but it does nothing to the allergens stuck on surfaces in your home or on your body when you come home. As with any prescription medication, there can be undesired side effects.

 

What makes the Eastern approach different?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Traditionally, the goal of all TCM is to promote the healthy flow of qi ,vital energy that travels throughout our meridians. Modern practitioners use terms such as "wind invasion" or weakened "wei" to describe and to diagnose.

The treatments are designed to treat both the root of the disease as well as the symptoms. Acupuncture can treat allergies by controlling the body's inflammatory reactions to allergens. Herbs can also help with reduce the inflammatory reaction as well as desensitize the body to allergens.

 

 

What is the typical treatment plan?

Ideally, treatments with a TCM practitioner begin about four to six weeks before the start of the allergy season. This allows time to build immunities to allergens. And if you are currently taking allergy medications, then acupuncture and herbs can help wean you from them.

 

What if I already have allergies?

Of course, if your allergy season has already begun or if you are allergies all year round, then starting treatment immediately can still provide great relief.

The first steps are drain out the excess mucus in the body. Once the mucus is drained out, then the symptoms will subside.

Once the symptoms subside, the next step is to help increase the body’s immune system using acupuncture and herbal medicine.   

The seasons are gradually turning to “yin” time.  Yin in chinese medicine is typically cold, dark, slow moving.  A bear follows the seasons perfectly by being active in summer and hibernating/resting in winter.  During the fall time our body goes through the transition from Yang (Summer season) to Yin (Winter season).  It is during this time that our immunities are tested and we find out whether we need to strengthen our bodies or not. 

If you are beginning to have or already have allergies, then don’t hesitate in getting them treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  It’s going to be a rough winter ahead if you already feel symptoms in the Fall.

 

Recommended herbs:

 

Wei Ling Tang E149: An exclusive powder we carry. Only until the increase in allergy cases the past few years has this medicine really become a necessity for allergies.

Recommended for: itchy watery eyes, plugged ears, pressure/all over headaches, excess mucus, plugged nose, general body heaviness.

Function: The herbal powder seeks to alleviate allergies by increasing the body’s urinary function and drains the mucus downward to our bladder. Here the mucus is eliminated through our urination. For some people their worst allergies are in the morning when they wake up.  For a lot of people, they usually wake first thing to urinate. This herbal powder will increase the urination in the morning in order to drive out mucus.

 

HT-39/81 : An exclusive pill we carry. For minor allergies affecting mainly the sinus, sinus headache and itchy eyes. 

Function: The herbal pellet will dry the mucus, instead of draining it downward to bladder.  

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