By Raven S. Seltzer
Record High Pollen Counts
The winter’s been wet and now the trees and flowers are blooming! Pollen counts are already at a record high. What’s a person to do, if they don’t want to pop antihistamines non-stop for the next 5 to 6 months? Luckily, there are some safe, natural, and effective solutions for allergy relief. Let’s cover two of the main alternatives: acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
The practice of acupuncture has been helping people to get well and stay well for over 5,000 years. Sterile, single-use, tiny needles are gently inserted into selected “points” along the body’s energy channels. With the needles inserted, the patient rests for approximately 30-40 minutes. Most people become very relaxed and some even fall asleep.
Though the needles are only placed slightly below the surface of the skin, the treatment works at a much deeper level to drive up the immune function of the body. Instead of artificially blocking the natural “histamine” response, it conditions the body’s immune system to NOT REACT to allergens.
It usually takes at least 4 treatments to see how an individual’s body responds. Once that is established, the acupuncturist can come up with a comprehensive plan for bringing you relief. Consistent acupuncture treatments can be a long-lasting solution your allergy suffering.
Unlike the other “natural remedies” to be discussed, acupuncture does not put anything into your body’s system that’s not already there—and likewise, it does not remove anything. It simply conditions and strengthens your immune system to respond in a more effective way to external allergens such as pollen.
Chinese Herbal Remedies
If you are scared of needles, don’t worry! Chinese herbal remedies may be a great alternative for you. Ideally, these formulas are used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments, but they can be used effectively on their own.
There are a number of different formulas for treating allergies, but your acupuncturist will need to select the right one for you. It is accomplished by taking a thorough Health History and performing several diagnostic tests.
The herbal formulas differ widely in their actions. For instance, one formula may “drain dampness” (dry up phlegm/mucus and weeping eyes). Whereas, another formula may gently increase fluid production and “clear heat” (throat, sinuses and eyes are dry, red and itchy).
Chinese Herbal formulas are safest and most effective when purchased from a trained and licensed practitioner. You may find similar remedies online at a cheaper price, but they come directly from China and are not tested for safety by any U.S. entity. It is always important to know the origin of your herbs to make sure that they are manufactured by a reputable company.
Raven S. Seltzer is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Certified Yoga Therapist and Reiki Master with over 30 years of experience in healthcare. She founded and ran the Boston Wellness Center for 15 years and completed clinical training at Boston Medical Center. Recently relocated to the Lake Norman area, she works with the team at Best Acupuncture in Cornelius, specializing in Women’s Health and Pediatrics. She enjoys spending her spare time with kids and animals, leading yoga and dance workshops as well as playing folk and blues music.