The change of seasons can be absolutely beautiful or a complete nightmare. Seasonal allergies can completely disrupt quality of life. Many of you suffering out there can only find minimal relief with over the counter or prescription products. Often times these substances contribute to symptoms getting worse year after year. Don’t give up, you can find relief and work towards decreasing your symptoms every year.
Did you know that most seasonal allergies are often caused by digestive issues? I like to think of pollen as the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This time of year there are drastic fluctuations in weather and a dramatic increase of particles in the air. A body with lowered digestive fire can get bogged down with an explosion of mucus, immune system responses and disruption of the endocrine system. Depending on what part of your digestion has been thrown off balance, recovery can take time. So what can you do to find relief now?
The most important thing to address right now during a flare up is to keep those passages clear. When the sinuses are chronically clogged the amount of oxygen getting into your system is drastically reduced. This sets off a chain reaction starting in your heart and brain, spiraling outwards exploiting the weakest link in your body. If you are not able to take full breaths, whatever disease is developing within you will increase.
A three-pronged approach of diet, acupuncture and herbs can help you open up the passages and keep the air flowing.
Most everyone this time of year can benefit from a lighter diet. All mucus building foods should be avoided. This refers to milks, cheeses, heavy meats, nut butters, coffee, heavy grains, baked goods, sugary foods and heavy oils and fats. For some I would even suggest decreasing avocado, eggs, nut milks, nuts in general and even oats. Iced beverages, cold foods and raw foods can also increase tough sticky mucus. These foods contribute to thick heavy mucus. Eat more foods that cultivate healthy mucus. Cultivate a thinner mucus that can move out of the way and it will be less likely to get stuck. The trapped mucus can develop into a bacterial infection and contribute to inflammation. Think about switching from coffee to tea this time of year. Eating more fish and leafy greens will also help.
An acupuncture session with a focus on sinus drainage can be life changing. In studies it has been shown to significantly decrease antibody levels of IgE, the immunoglobulin responsible for most chronic rhinitis, sinus cavity inflammation and pressure. There are also a few needling points that open the nasal passage ways allowing better air flow and increase oxygenation. By down regulating IgE, symptoms can be quickly reduced with each treatment. Acupuncture can be used throughout the season as your primary treatment for relief along with a clean whole foods diet.
Lastly there are many herbal remedies that can be useful during allergy season and year round. Some of our favorites include albizia, eyebright, echinacea, golden seal and stinging nettle root. We like to use formulas that combine more than one of these herbs and they are available in tablet or liquid form.
Compromised digestion is one main cause of allergies but there can be others. There can be a liver component, especially if there are headaches possibly indicating thick bile in the gall bladder or perhaps your liver is over worked and struggling to fully break down histamines.
Then there are the adrenal glands. Chronic stress and increased cortisol levels contribute to all types of inflammation in the body. High levels of cortisol can also increase hypersensitive allergic reactions, while also suppressing the immune system.
Connect with our nutritionist or acupuncturist to learn what specific issues may be contributing to your seasonal allergies and how we can help you feel better today.