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Environmental Allergies

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Environmental allergies are an immune system response that can range from mild to oppressive. Allergies are a result of the immune system processing an exterior substance as harmful. The immune system reacts to intercept and kill things like fungus, bacteria and viruses. Points of contact are your orifices, digestive tract and skin. This results in expulsion and defensive reflexes like cough, constriction, mucus, salivation etc. These responses can make underlying conditions like asthma more serious or create new, acute conditions like a sinus infection. The immune system is not always right in discerning whether something is harmful or not to the body. When something isn’t actually harmful but causes an immune response, it's allergies.

The body overreacts or wrongly labels substances as harmful because it is not functioning properly. In Chinese medicine one main reason the body doesn’t function properly is because of “deficiency.” Deficiency is defined as a system that is not functioning to its highest potential and/or in harmony with other systems.  Therefore, the best way to treat allergies is to rid the body of any deficiencies. This brings to light the importance of overall wellness and keeping the body in harmony.

The first point of contact any substance has with the body is with the body’s exterior layer. The exterior layer of the body in Chinese medicine is wei qi. Wei qi can be affected because of interior deficiencies or exterior attacks. Interior systems that can be weak and affect wei qi are the skin which is controlled by the arm tai yin (Lung) meridian, the leg tai yin (Spleen) meridian which is paired with the arm tai yin meridian, and the leg shaoyin (Kidney) meridian which is taxed any time the body is overworked or stressed. Whenever treating allergies wei, lung, spleen, and kidney qi should all be checked for weakness and strengthened.

Exterior attacks to wei qi can come from “wind.” “Wind” is the Chinese element for the season of spring which is why a lot of people have issues in the spring when “wind” is rising and showing its full strength. In the fall the same issues arises when “wind” is supposed to be rising to help the fall’s dominant energy of “metal” generate. By keeping the body harmonized and the exterior strong, a person will be less affected by contact with exterior substances and therefore, have little to no reaction.

Eastern methods of acupuncture, herbs and moxibustion can harmonize the body and strengthen qi preventing any need for a reaction from the body. In addition to points directly on the listed meridians, points on the body that regulate fluids, the immune system and wei qi can be used. Common points: lu7, lu9, sp3, sp6, sp9, st36, li11, li4, li10, li20, cv6, cv8, st40, kd3, kd6.  Herbs that tonify these systems can be added to personalized herbal prescriptions such as huang qi, fang feng, bai he, dang shen, bai zhu, gan cao, sheng jiang, ling zhi, dong chong xia cao, shan yao, and wu wei zi.

A way to boost the exterior with modern supplements is vitamin C and zinc. An increase in hydration can quickly flush substances from the mouth, throat, and digestive tract reducing the body’s need for a reaction. Local honey in small amounts can slowly introduce local pollen to the body in a different form potentially training the body that this substance is not a threat.

Please contact myself or your primary care provider for proper use and dosage of the points, herbs, and supplements mentioned in this article. This is an informative article intended to increase awareness and is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat any conditions.

References/ Additional Reading

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