With the fourth mildest winter in recorded history behind us, the seasonal allergy problem is, so to speak, in full bloom.
An interesting article was published on March 13th in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Allergies: The Season’s Public Enemies” by Laura Landro made some interesting observations:
As many as 30% of children and up to 40% of adults suffer from seasonal allergies that cause reactions such as sneezing, itching, stuffy nose, and watery eyes. Trees are one of the earliest plants to release pollen, followed later by pollen from grass and flowering plants. For example, high concentrations of tree pollen in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday came mainly from juniper, elm and maple trees, according to data compiled by the National Allergy Bureau, part of research group American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Ditto for Atlanta, where the top
offenders were pine, oak and birch.
In the beautiful City of Thousand Oaks, California, this can be a problem (yes we have AT LEAST 1000 Oak trees, and hundreds of persons reacting to them).
And it appears the season will continue longer than usual.
What to Do?
The article in the WSJ talks about the typical treatments: antihistamines including eye drops, nasal sprays and the like can reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis otherwise known as “hay fever”, but that doesn’t solve the real problem — what’s actually creating an abnormal immune response on some people when it doesn’t in others. Various medical treatments including subcutaneous(under the skin) or sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy works, but takes awhile to work — again, according to the WSJ article:
Unlike medication, allergy shots can potentially lead to lasting remission of symptoms after three to five years.
So, if you have time enough to wait, this might be a viable choice.
Most people don’t know that acupuncture has been one of the most high effective methods of treating allergies for centuries. In an interesting article entitled Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine for Seasonal Allergies, author Jillian Capodice, LAc demonstrates a number of research articles on the subject. The efficacy of acupuncture in regard to seasonal allergy is also mentioned on the prestigious WebMD site in an article entitled Relieve Allergies the Natural Way.
But, if you’re needle-phobic like me, you are probably looking for another way to deal with this problem.
There are a number of techniques that utilize principles from acupuncture without actually using needles. The premier technique is called “NAET” – an anacronym for “Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique”. It uses another form of treatment to stimulate acupuncture points, specifically points on the back called “Shu” points which connect with the various energy meridians on mammals, including humans. This treatment is a form of acuPRESSURE which is the manual stimulation of acu points with pressure.
NAET seems to have a balancing effect on the Autonomic Nervous System. It can desensitize your response to environmental (and other) allergens quite quickly. However, one must also keep in mind that other issues need to be addressed for a “permanent” elimination.
That will be the subject of our next post.