When we think of allergies, what comes to mind is the body’s response to an environmental exposure or “allergen.”
But what is the cycle of symptoms we call an allergy?
Congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing—is it an allergy—or an immune system imbalance?
Your immune system reacts by releasing antibodies that attach to white blood cells generally located in the lungs and respiratory tract and the lining of stomach and skin.
When these cells are stimulated, they in turn release chemicals, including histamine, which produce the familiar symptoms of congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing, asthma, even diarrhea.
Those trained in Chinese medicine also recognize that common allergic symptoms may arise from one or more deficiencies.
Using traditional Chinese medicine to identify deficiencies that cause allergic reactions
A skilled acupuncturist will approach a fairly common allergic reaction, such as rhinitis, from a different perspective than conventional medicine.
Frequently, such reactions can be caused by a deficiency of the protective or Wei Qi.
The nearest equivalent we have to this concept in Chinese medicine is lowered resistance to colds and respiratory infections.
People with Wei Qi deficiency catch colds easily and experience significantly worse allergy symptoms in spring or fall—the windy seasons.
Natural treatments to restore immune system imbalances
Looking for deeply rooted signs in an individual is fundamental for an acupuncturist, who seeks to treat the whole person.
We have found that those with chronic allergies often show signs of various deficiencies, including spleen or kidney as well as lung.
Quite often it is these deficiencies, as much as any external stimulus, that produce allergic reactions.
By drawing upon traditional Chinese medicine, we identify underlying immune system imbalances that can aggravate and worsen allergy symptoms making them more difficult to manage.
Then, using natural therapies, including dietary modification, specifically chosen herbal formulas and acupuncture, we can apply effective solutions for allergic conditions that otherwise seem recurrent and persistent when treated by conventional approaches.