Allergies affect approximately 40% of the population today, and are on the rise, affecting approximately 50 million Americans. There are 4 classifications of allergies: Skin Contact (which includes things such as poisonous plants, animal scratches, detergents, or latex gloves), injection type (includes bee stings and injected medications), inhalation allergies (pollen, dusts, animal dander, mold and mildew) and ingestion allergies (foods and medications).
Each have their own distinct mechanisms, although there are similarities between them. Typical treatments are targeted at suppression of the histamines released as part of the allergy mechanism or sensitization to the allergen, such as injections. Non-conventional treatments employ homeopathy, dietary changes, detoxification, herbal supplementation, acupuncture, and/or a few other modalities.
Since many people dislike the drowsy/druggy feeling, or do not appreciate the loss of smell or taste due to anti-histamines or have a fear of allergy shots, they turn to more natural alternatives for their allergies. There are many effective solutions.
Addressing allergies generally involves addressing immune function, especially when it comes to airborne allergies. To effectively address food allergies it is essential to address the entire digestive system, starting with the stomach and the ability to digest proteins effectively. Healing the damage that has affected intestinal permeability is paramount as well. There are many ways to address these systems to assist in the elimination of allergies.
Acupuncture is a very effective means of eliminating allergies. Acupuncture supports effective digestion, reduces inflammation and swelling of tissues, and restores balance. Acupuncture not only relieves the symptoms of allergies, but also targets the cause. According to Hippocrates, referred to as the father of medicine, “The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Acupuncture helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanism. Other helps include sanitation. Keeping a home or work environment absolutely clean helps to keep allergens under control and takes the load off the immune system. Some people also find temporary relief of sinus allergies by using a neti pot to rinse the sinuses, however, although helpful, this only addresses the symptoms and doesn’t address the causative factor (for instance why the cilia in the sinuses are not dumping the irritants themselves). Exercises such as yoga can stimulate the flow of mucus from the tissues and can be helpful as well.
© 2010 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.