A Natural Approach to Treating Seasonal Allergies

A Natural Approach to Treating Seasonal Allergies...

A Natural Approach to Treating Seasonal Allergies

Dr. Ben Kim

If you suffer with seasonal allergies, you are well aware of how a sudden onset of scratchy and watery eyes, violent sneezing, and a constant runny nose can hamper your activities of daily living. Sometimes called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies affect tens of millions of people throughout North America every year.

What causes seasonal allergies? When an outdoor or indoor allergen comes into contact with your body, your immune system may trigger the production of an antibody called immunoglobin E, also called IgE. If this happens, the next time that you are exposed to that allergen, IgE antibodies in your body release a chemical called histamine, which sets off a series of chemical reactions that can result in any of the following eliminative reactions:

  • Sneezing
  • Swelling of the mucous membranes in your sinuses, nose, and eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Watery eyes

All of these eliminative reactions are in place to preserve your health. You want these mechanisms to be sharp and fully functional all of the time, ready to react to substances that are harmful to your cells. What you don't want is for these eliminative mechanisms to swing into high gear in response to substances that don't pose a real physiological threat to your cells.

Toxins that are produced by mold – also called mycotoxins – are examples of substances that you want to react to by sneezing and having watery eyes and a runny nose. Regular exposure to mycotoxins can contribute to the development of a wide variety of health challenges, including cancer, nervous system dysfunction, immune system dysfunction, diarrhea, and even rapid death.

Pollens from various types of grasses, weeds, and trees are examples of substances that don't pose the same physiological threats to your cells that some mycotoxins do; there is no real need for your body to activate a histamine-mediated response when exposed to pollens.

Beyond different types of pollen, there are many other common allergens that are not directly harmful to your cells, and yet, if you suffer with seasonal allergies, your body may react to these allergens by producing the eliminative reactions listed above.

Why is this? Why does your body use up energy and sometimes exhaust itself in responding to allergens that are not directly harmful to your cells?

Conventional medicine and science do not have an answer for this question. All we know for sure is that allergens induce an IgE and histamine-mediated response. We don't know with absolute certainty why only a small percentage of the human population suffers with seasonal allergies.

My personal and clinical experiences have led me to believe that seasonal allergies come about because of a hypersensitive nervous system and a dysfunctional immune system. All sub-optimal lifestyle factors – poor stress management, lack of rest, poor food choices, and regular exposure to toxins – can gradually create both a hypersensitive nervous system and a dysfunctional immune system in people who are genetically susceptible to developing these health challenges.

What follows are dietary and lifestyle recommendations that I have used to help many people successfully overcome seasonal allergies.

  1. Apply deep massage to the following acupressure points for a few minutes, two times a day:
    1. Spleen 10 (SP-10): located in a tender region of the inner side of the thigh, approximately three finger widths above the upper and inner border/corner of the knee cap.

      For Clinicians: this point corresponds with the anterior cutaneous branches of the femoral nerve, the muscular branch of the femoral nerve, a portion of the great saphenous vein, the muscular branch of the femoral artery and companion vein, and the articular branch of the descending genicular artery.

    2. Spleen 6 (SP-6): located approximately three finger widths above the inner ankle bone, in a tender region of the lower calf muscle.

      For Clinicians: this point is found in between the medial margin of the tibia and the soleus muscle. As you go deeper, this point corresponds with the flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus muscles. This point also corresponds with a cutaneous branch of the saphenous nerve, motor branches of the tibial nerve, and the deeper trunk of the tibial nerve. A superficial branch of the great saphenous vein, the posterior tibial artery, and a companion vein to the posterior tibial artery are also in this region.

    3. Large Intestine 4 (LI-4): located in the soft, fleshy web that sits between your thumb and forefinger.

      For Clinicians
      : this point corresponds with a muscular branch of the median nerve, the deep branch of the ulnar nerve, proper palmer digitial nerves from the first common palmar digital nerve, and the superficial branch of the radial nerve. Tributary branches of the cephalic vein, the radial artery, and the first dorsal metacarpal artery and companion veins can also be found in this region.

    4. Liver 3 (LR-3): located in the soft flesh that sits between your big and 2nd toes, the equivalent of LI-4 on your foot.

      For Clinicians
      : this point corresponds with the medial dorsal cutaneous nerve, the medial branch of the deep peroneal nerve, and a muscular branch from the deep branch of the lateral plantar nerve. The dorsal venous network of the foot , the first dorsal metatarsal artery, and a companion vein are also found in this region.

      Some Notes Regarding Acupressure: in general, you should feel around for a tender spot in each of the regions described above. You should apply enough pressure to feel a mild, dull, achy pain. If you have varicose veins, do not massage any of your muscle groups without first consulting with your family doctor. It is best to massage each point on both sides of your body. If you are not sure about the location of each of the points listed above, I highly recommend that you take a look at the following book, the best of its kind: Acupressure's Potent Points: a Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments.

  2. Avoid all sources of MSG and artificial sweeteners.
  3. Take a high quality probiotic on a daily basis.
  4. Consider doing a juice fast to help remove stored toxins from your tissues, particularly from the insulating sheath that surrounds your nervous system.
  5. Ensure adequate vitamin D status. Vitamin D is essential for optimal nervous system and immune system health.

Following the recommendations listed above as a means to addressing seasonal allergies requires a lot more effort than taking an over-the-counter drug like Claritin. Please keep in mind that in addition to helping you overcome seasonal allergies, following these recommendations can also help you improve your overall health without a number of "side" effects like dizziness and drowsiness.

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