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Helping Get Rid of Allergic Rhinitis Using Traditional Chinese Medicine Procedures

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Allergic rhinitis can be a year-long or seasonal condition that is characterized by symptoms and signs such as itchy and red eyes, asthma-like symptoms, abundant nasal congestion and discharge, sneezing, thickened mucosal discharge, headaches, breathing difficulties and poor memory.

Medical doctors argue that these signs and symptoms are caused by extreme sensitivity of the nasal walls to allergens such as fumes, pollens, spores, animal dander, and/or dust. For still unknown reasons, the sufferer’s immune system has made the region in question to become hypersensitive to latent dangers that may enter the body via the mouth, throat, or nose. When these supposed threats do enter the body through the aforementioned organs, the infiltrators are kept by the immune system isolated within the part of the body they have entered. The immune system then dispatches killer leukocytes or white blood cells to do battle with these invaders and eliminate them. The battle causes the signs and symptoms typical of allergic rhinitis.

Western Modes of Treatment

Conventional ways of treating allergic rhinitis usually involve the lowering of the body’s sensitivity to the potential allergen or administering antihistamine drugs to inhibit the body’s immune response. Basically, these modalities re-channel or lower the sufferer’s immune response to a certain external influence. They do not modify or strengthen the other facets of immunity that may help better the condition of the patient nor do they clear away the blockages that block or slow down body systems from returning to a state of harmony and balance.

Chinese Medicine for Allergic Rhinitis

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats allergic rhinitis by relieving the symptoms caused by the body’s hypersensitivity to certain elements and zooming in on the internal elements that led to the disorder of the immune response (the hypersensitivity) of the body to these elements. Chinese herbs and acupuncture are used to correctly and calmly gauge the level of threat and thus regulate the body’s response to the threat based on a proper assessment of it.

Wei Qi:

In Chinese Medicine, Wei Qi is about understanding the immune systems essence and function. It is Qi’s (vtial energy) defensive component. Wei Qi travels all over the body just under the skin and between the muscles. It serves as a shield to protect the body from external factors such as heat, wind, cold and other potential invaders that lurk in nature. Assisting Wei Qi are the organ systems of kidney and lungs. They guard Wei Qi’s boundaries from wind borne elements that can be potentially pathogenic. The respiratory passages, mouth and nose are nourished and protected by Lung Qi while Kidney Qi is responsible for the transmission of endocrine information as well as the transport of nourishment to the lungs to assist Wei Qi in mounting a calibrated and proper response to whatever pathogen it may encounter. An adequately nourished and healthy Wei Qi can correctly assess the pathogen and so can perform a proper inflammatory response to trap the infiltrator, whilst prompting the leukocytes into attacking and destroying the histamine trapped allergen. Mucosal discharges and sneezing then aid in removing these deceased pathogens from the body.

Deficiency Complicating the Allergy

If an obstruction or deficiency arises in one or more of the body systems nourishing Wei Qi, then the battle between leukocytes and allergens can lead to severe symptoms. As the mucus builds up, the sufferer might find breathing becoming extremely difficult and his/her sneezing can become much more severe. Deficiency complicating the allergy can occur with a change in the weather. People with ongoing eczema or asthma or have a history of both are prone to this type of condition and can lead to signs and symptoms such as:

-Persistent and transitory sneezing
-Weak, deficient pulse
-An increase in itchiness around the eyes and nose
-A pale and waxy complexion

Allergies Aggravated by stagnation

If the energy and channels become blocked it can also affect the function of Wei Qi. Severely stressful emotions can create blockages in the liver Qi meridian. This can be unvented anger or frustration that can literally throttle liver Qi stagnating blood and energy flow to other systems of the body. The defense mechanisms of the body weaken and poorly function without the efficient and proper flow of nutrients and energy causing the immune system to overreact. This pattern of rhinitis has certain aspects like:

-A pulse with a string-taut quality
-Red or white face turning purple when angry
-Easily angered with an anger that is disproportionate to the targeted situation

Allergies that are affected by consumption of certain foods

Poor dietary selection can lead to another type of obstruction/stagnation. Frequent eating of phlegm-creating and cold foods can cause dampness in the body that impedes the digestive function causing delay in the absorption and transport of nutrients throughout the body. Dairy products, cold fruit juices, peanuts as well as all drinks and foods that contain sugar induce the production of mucus in the digestive pathway that ends up in the lungs and nose. This is usually seen in children who have frequent noisy breathing, itching in the nose and runny noses. Some of the aspects of this rhinitis pattern include:

-Loose fecal matter
-Thirsty but no desire to drink
-Selective eater (low appetite)
-Fatigue, droopy posture, muzzy headed
-White face

The effectiveness of acupuncture:

Herbal remedies and acupuncture are the usual modes of treatment traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use to treat allergic rhinitis. In order to relieve symptoms, the acupuncturist slowly inserts extremely fine needles into the appropriate acupuncture points where energy channels known as meridians are located. These meridians are stimulated to either re-channel the pathways of communication so as to prevent allergic attack in the future or suppress a current allergic reaction. The acupuncturist can perform two or three treatments a month before the onset of the allergy season to strengthen and regulate the Wei Qi, kidneys in a way that the patient may no longer be bothered by allergens again.

Chinese Herbal Medicine is Quite Effective for Alleviation of Symptoms

When taken daily, certain types of Chinese herbal formulas can significantly relieve the discomfort that is felt during an allergic reaction. They can also help strengthen the kidney and lungs in the long term. If foods that cause allergies are taken out from the diet, the person can enjoy the outdoors without fear of an allergic reaction.

Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Written by Valerie

January 28th, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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