Author: Rhonda Bilsker Pearl, NCCAOM, LAc, CA
People are looking for natural ways to help with allergy relief. Most are finding that side effects from medication, including over the counter medicines, cause other problems such as drowsiness, and in some cases do not even work at all.
With the growing popularity of natural medicine like acupuncture, and a growing number of studies proving relief from more natural sources, people are using natural medicine for help with their allergies.
Allergy sufferers have a wide variety of symptoms including stuffy nose, runny nose, headache, cough, and watery or itchy eyes, to name a few.
Acupuncture is more concerned with the "root" causes of these symptoms versus the symptoms themselves (which we call the branches). During the first few acupuncture sessions, the acupuncturist would do all they could to relieve the symptoms to provide comfort to the patient. Ultimately, however, the goal would be to heal the root causes of these symptoms.
First, we would look to see if the problem was from heat, damp, phlegm or cold. In many cases it could be caused by a combination of some of the pathogens named above. We would then place fine needles to either dissipate the heat and/or the phlegm, or we would work to warm the cold or dry the damp. We also would use herbs to speed up the healing. For example, if an allergy sufferer has phlegm and irritation/inflammation in their lungs and bronchial tubes, we would clear the heat and dry the phlegm using lung points located on various places of the body, and use a formula containing Ars iod, a homeopathic herb that reduces the inflammation and also dries the damp.
We could also use specific points and specific formulas to relieve headache pain. We would determine the source of the pain to relieve the headache and prescribe a formula that contains Silica, a homeopathic herb that, when combined with other herbs, is effective in providing relief for most any kind of headache pain. In most cases the patient would find relief immediately or within a few hours.
For allergy sufferers who have eye symptoms such as watery or itchy eyes, we would look to the liver channel to alleviate the discomfort, as the liver channel runs through the eyes. Therefore, we would also use a formula containing Euphrasia officinalis to help clear the eyes and to support ongoing eye health.
We ultimately want to prevent allergy attacks by enhancing the immune system so the body has an improved ability to fight the allergen on its own. So once again, I have to drive home the importance of rest, meditation, exercise and healthy eating!