How I Use Acupuncture for Allergies
People suffering from Allergies and Sinusitis in Autumn here in San Diego dread the dry, hot, winds that blow in from the high desert during our “Santa Ana” conditions.
The problem for allergy sufferers is that the dry hot desert air brings in dust, pollen and pesticide pollutants. This is a nightmare for people with allergies. Allergy symptoms from San Diego Santa Ana’s include
- dry itchy red weepy swollen eyes
- itchy eustachian tubes and skin
- dry irritated itchy nasal passages and back of throat
- sneezing fits
- runny nose,
- nasal congestion
- sinus headaches
What can be done?
I use Acupuncture, Cupping, Moxabustion, and Chinese Herbs for Allergies in Autumn, along with an anti-allergy medical Diet and Ayurveda . I use similar protocols for year round allergies, and allergy to cats and dog.
Acupuncture for Allergies in Autumn
The first line of treatment for Allergies and Sinusitis in Chinese Medicine is Acupuncture
Classical Chinese Acupuncture can help nip an allergic response in the bud when allergen levels spike in Autumn. I also use this for people who get allergies year round or from tree pollen in spring. …These acupuncture points are also good for cat, dog, and dust allergies…..This kind of acupuncture is most effective when done immediately at the onset of symptoms, so come in right away.
Acupuncture to treat Allergy Symptoms:
I use Classical Chinese Acupuncture points like Feng Qi/GB20 at the base of the skull to to relieve Allergy and Sinusitis symptoms no matter the underlying causes. This acupuncture point works by opening the flow of Qi in the head, sinuses, eyes, and face, which increases sinus drainage, sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness in the eyes and nose.
Nip an Acute Allergic Response in the Bud with Acupuncture
To nip allergy symptoms in the bud I do Acupuncture Points like “Feng Qi” and “He Gu” (GB-20 and LI-4) that are used to get rid of all the symptoms in the head, from deep nasal congestion and headache, to runny nose and itchy eyes.
If there is a lot of sneezing, runny nose, or nasal congestion then I choose the Acupuncture points “Welcome Fragrance” (LI-20) . You can tell by the name of this acupuncture point that it is used to unblock the nose and restore the sense of smell lost by congested nasal passages.
I add acupuncture point Yin Tang, which calms the mind, which is how Chinese medical theory describes acupuncture points that calm the fight or flight nervous system response that can contribute to allergy symptoms…. I will also show you how to do acupressure on these acupuncture points that are on the face and hands at home.
Acupuncture to treat the Causes of Allergies
But I also want to use acupuncture to treat the root of the problem. Allergies and Sinusistis develop in people who are either what we call Excess or Deficient.
Acupuncture for Allergies in Excess Conditions
Excess, or Full, means too much of the right thing in the wrong place, like when there is too much rain and the land is flooded. Overwatering a garden can create conditions for fungus and mold to grow. Its not that we dont need rain, its just too much..
And example of an Excess condition is too much fat from too much food, or too much beer or sweets. This creates a Damp conditon.
Another Excess condition is stagnated and overheated Liver Qi. This occurs from too many stressors at once, or a bodymind type that carries a lot of tension by nature.
In both of the above cases we can use acupuncture for allergies caused by excess conditions by releasing stagnant Liver Qi or stimulatng the Qi mechanism to release dampness from the body.
Acupuncture for Allergies in Deficient Conditons
Deficient, or Empty, conditions are not enough of the right thing in the right place…An example of a deficient condition is the fatigue that results from hunger. Another example of a deficiency condition is the person with fatigue from anemia. Naturally skinny people, the Vata dosha types of Ayurveda, can be naturally deficient.
People who don’t breath well, who do not know how to breathe from the diaphram can develop Lung Qi vacuity. Vacuity, deficiency, and empty are all translations from the Chinese medical term Xu.
These various Chinese medical diagnostic terms are Chinese medicine’s way of describing dysfunction of the immune system, the effects of stress and emotions on the physical Lungs and Lung Qi, and the way stress and genetics combine to produce hyperactive allergic response.
Acupuncture points for Allergies from Weak Defensive Qi/ Wei Qi
In Chinese Medical theory people who are susceptible to attack by external pathogens such as dust and pollen are said to have “weak Wei Qi” or “Defensive Qi.”
Wei Qi is how Chinese Medicine describes the aspect of the immune system that helps us avoid colds and flu…When this part of our overall Qi is weak, we get easily sick. But this Wei Qi also describes our levels of sensitivity to allergens. When the Wei Qi is weak we develop an overactive histamine response.
To strengthen your Wei Qi and balance your immune response, I choose Acupuncture points Zu San Li and San Jin Yao. These points also strengthen digestion which helps our body to run “cleaner.”
Good digestion one of the bases for a healthy immune response. The toxic sludge that develops from weak digestion or poor diet, called Ama in Ayurvedic Medicine is called Dampness in Chinese Medicine.
Acupuncture Points for Dampness in Allergies
Dampness is a systemic problem in that it obstructs the free flow of Qi energy through all the body’s tissues, from the interstices of cells to the accumulation of phlgem and mucus in the lungs and sinuses..When Dampness or Ama develop, its like the engine of a car in desperate need of an oil change, when the nice light lubricant has become a thick slime. When Weak Defensive Qi is complicated by dampness, I will add points like YinLingQuan/Sp-9 to drain dampness from the body.
Sp-9 is a point used for both cold-damp and damp-heat, and is used from many manifestations of dampness in the body
Weak Lung Qi
Some people who are allergy prone have “Weak Lung Qi.” These are the people that also often have Asthma, allergic Eczema, or who catch colds or flu easily.
Both Acupuncture theory and Western Medicine associate the nose, sinuses, and eustachian tubes with the Lungs. We breathe in and out of the nose, and when we get colds which affect our Lungs, often the Sinuses and Eustachian tubes are also effected.
Oxygen is extracted by the lungs from the air around us. The oxygen is then infused into the blood stream and pumped by the heart.
Lots of Americans have shallow breathing for many reasons. Its our diaphram, that great big muscle that cuts accross the torso at the solar plexus, that acts as a bellows and forces the lungs to take air in and out.
There are many reasons people become shallow breathers. People become shallow breathers when they are frozen by fright as children, but also when their tension levels constrict the movement of the diaphram. This similar to the tight neck and shoulders we get with stress. Anxiety can also inhibit deep breathing.
When someone has “Weak Lung Qi” they will get catch colds easily, be prone to allergies of the lungs and skin, and they may have a weak sounding voice, not a booming voice. I can determine if you have weak Lung Qi from your voice, your particular signs and symptoms and by reading your pulse.
Acupuncture Points I choose to strengthen the Lungs include Fe Shu and Tai Yuan, the regulating and source points of the Lung Qi
Liver Depression Qi Stagnation–Stress
Live many chronic diseases Allergies are worsened by stress. Stress amps up the nervous system via the fight or flight response. When that happens our body overheats, and heat creates irritation and sensitivity. If, on top of that we have weak Defensive or Lung Qi , we are going to be Allergy prone.
Disease is often the result of the perfect storm of negative factors, in this case, stress with a particular kind of weakness. Chinese Medicine has an elegant paradyme that describes the cascade of effects of Fight and Flight on our body’s myriad tissues. The “fight” aspect in particular we describe as causing Liver Depression Qi Stagnation.
When this is a factor you will notice feeling stressed out. Your voice might sound more like a shout, and your pulse will have a forceful bowstring quality. When this is the case, and especially if you have Sinus Headaches, then I will choose Acupuncture points Tai Chong, San Jin Yao, and especially the combination Zu Sin Li with Wai Guan.
Cumulative Effect of Acupuncture for Allergies and Sinusitis
Over time Acupuncture can helps your body reprogram itself so that it is less and less triggered by allergens. My very first experience with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Allergies and Sinusitis was when i lived in Chicago and had very bad Allergic Rhinitis/Hay Fever.
I used to dread August and September, when the ragweed pollen levels were high. I went to see an American acupuncturist, and after a brief series of treatments along with some dietary change and herbal medicine (see below) my symptoms were down by 50%…I then left for India, so could not follow thru, but I have never had Allergies like that since.
Acupuncture over time will strengthen you immune system and lessen allergic sensitivity. Acupuncture helps return “flaring Ministerial fire” to its source so you feel less physically and emotionally reactive and stronger, too. When you see the kind of person who is phased by nothing and has no fear, that is because their ministerial fire/Agni is very strong and rooted. Acupuncture helps this process.
Other Manual Therapies for Allergy
Along with Acupuncture, Chinese Cupping can really help with seasonal allergies by releasing internal heat.
And a great therapy is the Neti Pot, because it flushes allergens like pollen and pollutants, along with dead skin cells, from the nasal passages. It also moisturize the nasal passages. For more info:
Neti Pot for Allergies and Sinus Health