A perennial disorder as well as a seasonal one, allergic rhinitis is marked by profuse nasal discharge, nasal congestion and fits of sneezing. Several sufferers may also have red conjunctivae and itchy eyes. Patients can also experience asthmatic symptoms, headaches, poor mental focus, breathing difficulties, and thickened mucus membranes as the congestion in the sinus cavities increases. According to conventional Western medicine, these symptoms and signs are the result of hyper-sensitivity in the nasal cavity walls to dust mites, certain kinds of pollens, spores, fumes, and/or animal dander. The immune system of an allergic rhinitis sufferer, for unknown reasons, has given instruction to the affected area of the body to stay on maximum alert for any potential infiltrators that may enter the body through the throat, mouth, and nasal pathways. The immune system transmits alarming signals, when the perceived elements enter the body commanding the body to quickly isolate the infiltrators within these orifices. White blood cells are then dispatched by the immune system to kill the invaders. The allergic reaction experienced manifest as symptoms and signs of the battle between the infiltrators and the white blood cells.
Conventional Western Treatment:
Western medicine commonly treats allergic rhinitis either with antihistamines to obstruct the immune response of the body or through some form of desensitization to the harmful allergen. These approaches are essentially designed to suppress or redirect the immune reaction of the patient to a certain outside influence. The other associated aspects of immunity that may be important to the condition of the patient are not altered or revitalized by these treatments. Nor are they capable of removing the obstructions that can prevent or delay body systems from going back to a harmonious function.
The Chinese Medicine Approach:
Allergic rhinitis treatment using Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on the internal factors that have led to the dysfunction of the immune response of the body, apart from relieving symptoms resulting from its hyper-reactive state. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are used to assist the immune system into correctly and calmly evaluating threat status and regulate response mechanisms based on the proper level of threat.
Wei Qi is a concept that Chinese Medicine uses to understand the functions and nature of immunity. It is the defensive aspect of the vital energy of the body (Qi). Wei Qi flows between the muscles underneath the skin to protect the body from being seriously affected by elements such as heat, wind or cold that people encounter in the environment. Kidney and Lung Qi help Wei Qi defend its boundaries against elements related to wind that might potentially be pathogenic. The nose’s mucus lining as well as the lining of the respiratory tract and mouth is nourished and protected by Lung Qi. Sending nourishment to the lungs is the job of Kidney Qi, which sends information from the endocrine system information in order for Wei Qi to be able to mount a calibrated and intelligent defense response to whatever pathogenic infiltrators it meets. A strong and well-nourished Wei Qi will be able to easily recognize an unwanted guest within its borders. It can then make a measured inflammatory response to snare the invader, while at the same time signaling white blood cells to eliminate the histamine ensnared allergen. Sneezing and nasal discharges can help clear mucus “battle debris,” and restore homeostasis.
Allergies aggravated by deficiency:
Even a mild allergic reaction can lead to incredibly severe symptoms if one or more of the organ systems supplying Wei Qi are blocked or become deficient in their functions. Tired white blood cells fail in battle against the allergens making the inflamed part of the body even more toxic. The patient’s discomfort is exacerbated all the more: sneezing becomes more forceful, more mucus accumulates, and breathing becomes ever more difficult. The typical features in patterns of rhinitis exacerbated by deficiency are:
? A weak deficient pulse
? Concurrent or history of eczema or asthma
? Pale and waxy complexion
? Increased itching around the eyes and nose
? Recurrent and transitory sneezing
? Allergic reaction that occurs with a change in the weather
Allergies as a result of food choices:
Poor dietary selection can also lead to blockage/stagnation. Daily intake of phlegm-producing and cold foods leads to dampness in the body that retards digestion that in turn slows down the break down and transport of nutrients to the rest of the body. Drinks and foods containing sugar, peanuts, cold fruit juices, and dairy products create mucus in the digestive tract that tends to amass in the lungs and nose. This issue is commonly seen in children with chronic noisy breathing, nasal itching, and stubborn runny nose. Tell-tale signs of this hypo-reactive pattern of rhinitis are:
? Loose stools
? A feeling of thirst with no desire to drink
? Weak appetite (Choosy eater)
? Muzzy headedness
? Droopy posture
? White face
Allergies complicated by stagnation:
If for any reason the blood and Qi channels become blocked, Wei Qi can also weaken. When liver Qi declines due to emotional stress, blockage can develop. Unreleased anger and frustration can literally choke liver Qi, preventing it from circulating blood and Qi to the rest of the body systems. Absent the efficient and normal circulation of nutrients and information, the defense mechanisms of the body screw up, in this case, by over reacting. Noted features of this type of rhinitis pattern are:
? A string-taut pulse
? White or reddish face that turns purplish during moments of anger
? Easy irritability disproportionate to current events
Allergic rhinitis can be treated with acupuncture in Bellingham, an Eastern healing technique that’s part of an ancient medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine. To alleviate sinus discomfort, the acupuncturist carefully applies very slender needles into predetermined meridians (energy channels) along points in the known called acupuncture points. The meridians can be activated to calm a current allergic reaction and clear out accumulating mucus. It can also lead to a reformat of communication channels so that any future attacks can be averted. Just before the start of the allergy season, two or three acupuncture treatments can help boost and regulate the Wei Qi, kidneys, and lungs in such a way that the person no longer experiences any adverse reaction to formerly problematic allergens.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Regular intake of Chinese herbal formulas can make a huge difference in the relief of symptoms of an allergy reaction. It can also reinforce the kidney and lung support systems for a long time. If allergy-causing foods are also avoided, the person can experience the freedom to enjoy nature without suffering any consequences to his/her health.