Allergies got you down? Spring is here and for a lot of people that means allergy season! In Chinese medicine allergies occur because there is a deficiency in a particular organ system, but in all cases Wind is also part of the diagnosis. Wind is able to penetrate and get in because of the weakness in an organ system. Wind can come in many forms wind cold and wind heat is typically seen more in patients with cold and flu symptoms, while wind damp can be seen in seasonal allergies. Wind damp symptoms are typically a sudden onset of symptoms that can come and go (just like wind) including: sneezing, itching of eyes and throat, heavy sensation in head and copious mucus.
The combinations of herbs, acupuncture, and diet can treat the symptoms of acupuncture, but also get to the root of the cause to better support your system to fight off allergies in the future!
DIET For Allergies
Diet plays a huge role in controlling and preventing seasonal allergies. Sweets, dairy, cold, and raw food all increase mucus build up. When the mucus accumulates the allergens are able to stimulate a stronger reaction! So what should you eat to help defend against seasonal allergies? Soups, warmed or steamed veggies, and grains that are easy to digest. We want your digestive system to be as healthy as possible, because with a healthy digestive system there is less likely for mucus build up and the body is better equipped to fight of any invasions! Adding warming ginger and cinnamon to your diet is also helpful! And last eating food in spring that support the Liver in Spring like salmon, scallions, eggplant, broccoli, and dandelion greens will also be beneficial!
ACUPUNCTURE for Allergies
Acupuncture can both relieve the symptoms of allergies, but it can also get to the root of why you are having them! Often in my clinic I see treatment for the symptoms of allergies frequently relieves the symptoms immediately or within the next day! During our treatment I will also determine which organ is deficient, in general for allergies it is either Lung, Kidney, Spleen, or Liver. Each organ deficiency often presents as different allergy symptoms.
For example more issues with sneezing or coughing: your Lung Qi may be deficient. Issues with itchy red eyes: your Live Qi may be deficient. Excess mucus in your nose and throat: your Spleen Qi may be deficient. And Kidney is often involved in all of them, but generally is deficient in people who have experienced chronic allergies most of their lives. In this case the best time to treat the root of your allergies is actually in Winter, which is the season which relates to the Kidneys. Treatment in the winter can actually prevent the allergies from coming in the spring.
To find out if acupuncture is right for you to fight your seasonal allergies, book an appointment or free consultation today!
It’s officially Spring! Although the snow we had on Sunday didn’t feel like it, but I know in the last week or so I have started to feel the changes take place to bring us into one of my favorite seasons!
Spring a time of renewal and cleansing
Spring is the time to get up and moving after hibernating in winter. Spring cleaning is a real thing, not just for our houses, but for our bodies. After the cold months of winter where we were craving rich earthy foods, our appetite in spring eases, and we start to need less food, as there is no longer a need to store energy to stay warm during the cold months of winter. Because of this spring is a great time to reset your body and reach your weight goals. The natural trends of this season of eating less and moving more, supports you in this process.
The organs of Spring: the Wood Season
Why else is spring a great time for cleansing and renewal? Because spring is represented by the Wood Element in TCM, and that includes the Liver and Gallbladder organs. Both of these organs are incredible in their abilities to cleanse and release.
Among the livers many functions in Western Medicine is the formation, cleansing, and filtration of blood to help the body eliminate toxins. And in Eastern Medicine the Livers functions go well beyond the physical function and it includes the spiritual and emotional qualities as well. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in our bodies, its energy moves upward and outward. It is responsible for keeping the flow of blood, energy, and emotions moving to support the body, mind, and spirit.
When Qi cannot move it can become stagnant: causing stress, anger, irritability, and depression. If you do not follow the flow of the seasons, this Qi stagnation is likely to occur. Often within the transition between Winter and Spring I will have patients who come in with many of the emotional symptoms already mentioned. By regulating their bodies with acupuncture, food, and regular moment, their emotions will quickly begin to balance out!
Other problems that are associated with imbalances in the Wood element are: muscle tension, sciatica, headaches, visual issues, menstural irregularities, PMS, digestive issues, and High Blood Pressure. Spring can be a time when these can get aggravated or become worse, but it is also the time to treat and relieve these!
Wind can occur in any season, but is generally strongest in Spring. In TCM wind can penetrate and become internal wind causing symptoms such as: dizziness, cramps, inching, spasms, tremors, pain that comes and goes, twitching, pulsating headaches, and ringing in the ears. The nape of the neck in TCM is called the “wind gate.” It is the place that is most vulnerable to wind and cold, which is why wearing a coat or scarf is so important during this season.
How to Stay Healthy this Spring
Foods For Spring
1. Green Foods: During spring, it is recommended to eat foods green in color and rich in chlorophyll that help accelerate rejuvenation of the liver. This includes things like spirulina, chlorella, parsley, wheat grass, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens.
2. Radishes: Pungent in flavor, radishes are perfect for the spring time. They help move liver Qi and open up the liver meridian.
3. Sour Citrus Fruits: Foods like lemons, limes and grapefruit are all good choices that help cut fats that may have been stored up in the body during the winter months, while also keeping the liver Qi moving smoothly.
4. Bitter Leafy Greens: Spring is the appropriate time for liver cleansing, which is what the bitter flavor does. So adding things like dandelion greens, arugula, radicchio, mustard greens and spinach will help tremendously.
5. Chicken: Ever heard the term “spring chicken”? Well this is the appropriate time of year to enjoy pasture-raised, locally grown chicken. And pairing chicken with some of the aforementioned foods can make for a very healthy and liver happy meal.