Allergies

Allergic Rhinitis:

Seasonal allergens like tree pollens in the spring time, or grass pollens in the summer, and ragweed weed pollen (hay fever) in the fall are the main causes seasonal of allergies. Many people are year round suffers of allergies and are the perennial type. These individuals are most affected by fungus spores, dust that contains a multitude of offending material like insect detritus, animal dander, and various organic proteins.

Millions of men, women and children have allergies, according to the CDC’s estimates there are 47.5 million people diagnosed with allergic conditions and asthma between 2003 and 2005. For those of you that like statistics check out this reference Allergy Statistics

The biological explanation of an allergy is an overreacting immune response to allergens (antigens) examples are pollen, dust mites, molds, animal protein found in dander, latex, insect bites, and certain foods i.e., peanuts, chocolate, citrus fruit, mango, berries, shellfish.

Typical signs and symptoms are usually runny, itchy eyes & nose, sneezing, clear or whitish discharge, itching at the upper palette (roof of the mouth), hives i.e., redness & swelling of the skin (usually in blotches). If the discharge color is yellow or greenish then we are dealing with sinusitis. Some allergies are seasonal while others are chronic hypersensitivities. Theses serious allergic reactions are life threatening and need immediate emergency medical attention, individuals who are prone to anaphylaxis due to severe hypersensitivity must be under the care of a qualified medical doctor.

The treatments available in western medicine are to suppress the immune system making it less active toward the allergen, desensitization therapy (allergy shots), and suppress the annoying symptoms.

Traditional Chinese medicine:

The approach is to strengthen the immune system, alleviate symptoms, reduce or eliminate pain, and help to prevent or reduce further episodes.

Wei Qi is the Chinese medicine equivalent to the western biological immune system. Wei Qi is said to circulate on and within the superficial layers of our bodies. Acupuncture regulates the organ networks responsible for the production and maintenance of the Wei Qi, there is also another type of Qi called Ying or nutritive Qi it is derived from food you eat, Ying Qi is necessary to produce the Wei Qi so it is necessary to eat a proper healthful diet. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help maintain the strength and functionality of the Wei Qi by way of restoring the circulation of Qi and blood and balancing the Yin & Yang forces, once this is accomplished the flow of the Wei Qi can move all over the body keeping the immune system alert but not over reactive.

Reference:

  1. Allergic Rhinitis from the National Institutes of Health
  2. Allergy from the National Institutes of Health
  3. Consensus Statement on Acupuncture from the National Institutes of Health
  4. Bruce Robinson, BIOMEDICINE: A Textbook for Practitioners of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, 107: Allergic Diseases, p. 460
  5. Jeffrey Grossman Acupuncture Media Works
  6. Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
  7. An Epidemic of Sinus Disorders
  8. Flaws, Bob, and Philippe Sionneau. “Allergic Rhinitis.” The Treatment of Modern Western Medical Diseases with Chinese Medicine: A Textbook & Clinical Manual. First ed. Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy, 2001. 47-51. Print.