Health&Wellness Magazine May 2016 - Page 10

& ACUPUNCTURE 10 May 2016 | Read this issue and more at | –COLUMN PROVIDED BY– Like us @healthykentucky CLASSICAL ACUPUNCTURE Tara Bissell, 859.402.2430 M.Ac., L.Ac. | Licensed in Kentucky 296 Southland Drive, Lexington KY 40513 296 Southland Drive Lexington, KY 40503 ph: 859.402.2430 fx: 859.402.0585 Seasonal Allergies: Something to Sneeze About Chinese Medicine takes an integrative approach By Kathleen Fluhart, RN, M.Ac., L.Ac., Artemesia Symptoms of sneezing, a scratchy throat, a runny nose, puffy, watery and itchy eyes, asthma and sinus congestion and infections can occur any time of year, but they are often connected with the spring season, when trees are pollinating, and summer and fall, when grass and weed pollens are abundant. Living in the lush Ohio River Valley, Kentuckians are exposed to more types of pollen than most other areas of the country. Kentucky is also known for its damp environment and its abundant varieties of vegetation. Of course, there are other year-round natural environmental allergens. These include dust, animal dander, dust mites and mold spores. Western medicine views seasonal allergies as the body’s hypersensitivity to pollen, which causes it to produce an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). This antibody binds with the pollen allergen and a mast cell receptor and creates a histamine response, which is what we experience as allergy symptoms. Mast cells are found predominantly in the body’s boundaries between the inside and outside world, such as the skin and the mucosa of the nose, lungs and digestive tract. In Chinese medicine, an allergic response is primarily associated with the spleen meridian, but it may also be associated with the lung, stomach and intestinal meridians. Involvement of the liver meridian, which is effected by wind-driven allergens, and the kidney meridian, which reflects depletion and inflammation, are also possible. Taking this a little further, the spleen and stomach meridians are associated with excess dampness in the body. Besides the environment, dampness is also associated with too many sweets and too much dairy in the diet. Thus it is in the best interest of allergy sufferers to reduce their intake of simple carbohydrates (sweeteners, white flour and rice) and dairy products. In Chinese medicine, spleen meridian imbalances are also associated with excess thinking and especially worry. In this high-tech, globally connected, high-pressure modern age, overthinking and worrying have become the norm. I often recommend meditation or meditative exercises such as tai chi, qi gong or yoga for anxious clients. When diagnosing allergies, both Western and Eastern medicine pay attention to the presenting symptoms, such as those mentioned above. Western medicine has developed sophisticated methods for testing either the skin (using skin prick or patch tests) or the blood for the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies. In a Chinese medicine diagnosis, we assess presenting symptoms, the qualities of the 12 pulses located in the wrists (each pulse is related to a different meridian) and the tongue to detect underlying imbalances. Using an integrative approach, both systems of medicine have a lot to offer allergy sufferers in terms of diagnostics and treatment. I always ask my patients who suffer from allergy if they’ve had allergy testing and what the test results were so I can integrate this information into the lifestyle aspect of their Chinese medicine treatment plan. The main difference between the Western and Eastern systems in allergy treatment is the methods used. While Western medicine’s focus is on treating the allergic symptoms with prescriptions (ste- Use a Neti pot with warm, sterile, distilled water and a pinch of salt once a day to clear nasal passages.