Allergies and Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture may not be one of the first things that come to mind with regards to allergy relief.  With the wide variety of over the counter medicines available, many allergy sufferers are able to reasonably manage their symptoms.  Add to that our general tendency to soldier on through our busy lives, we tend to believe that things like allergies are just something we manage rather than something we can change.  Acupuncture can be a worthwhile addition to your arsenal of allergy fighting tools.  A series of sessions in the weeks prior to the start of allergy season can help by putting the body into a better state of balance.   By balancing things out and supporting those areas which need a bit of a boost, the immune systems reaction to the onslaught of allergens can be reduced.  Regular treatments during the worst season can also help keep symptoms under better control. 

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), allergies relate primarily to 3 channel pairs and their respective elements:  Lung/Large Intestine (Metal), Spleen/Stomach (Earth) and Liver/Gall Bladder (Wood).  The Lung energy is our immunity, protecting us from illness and helping us to fight it off.  Balanced and strong Lung energy can protect us from colds and from allergies.  The yang partner channel to Lung is Large Intestine sharing the Metal element.  The other systems relate primarily to the symptoms we may experience and their locations.  The Large Intestine and Stomach channels pass through the nose and sinuses.  Stuffy nose or fuzzy allergy head from inflamed sinuses?  Look to Large Intestine and Stomach to help out.  What about itchy, red eyes?  The Liver channel (Wood element) connects to the eyes and can be used to help soothe the irritation from pollen.  The Spleen channel (Earth element), when out of balance, fails to control dampness in the body.  That runny drippy nose is a sure sign that the Earth element needs a boost.  

So making sure the Metal, Earth and Wood elements and their related channels are strong and in balance before allergy season starts and supporting them in the thick of it can help make your allergy season a little less covered in Kleenex.