Allergies and the Ancient Art of Chinese Medicine


Spring is often the tipping point for people whose immune systems are stressed or overtaxed. The sudden arrival of flowers, grasses, pollens from trees, and other seasonal environmental changes create the perfect storm for symptoms such as hay fever, asthma, and digestive disorders.

These “allergy” symptoms are an indication that our immune system cannot keep up with the sudden burst of activity in the natural world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, our bodies are attuned to the energy of the seasons. In the springtime, if we are in a state of balance, we experience a burst of energy that mirrors the natural world around us.

When we are out of balance, we experience the opposite; instead of feeling energized by the springtime weather, we can feel fatigued, suffer from insomnia, or experience emotional disturbances such as anxiety and depression. Seasonal allergies and digestive problems are common springtime ailments.

Simply stated, our modern lifestyle does not support the rhythms of the natural world. There is a growing body of scientific research that suggests the foods we eat, insufficient hours of sleep, and prolonged stress can undermine our immune system. When our immune system is not working sufficiently, we experience sensitivities and allergic reactions to things in our environment that should be harmless, such as pollens, dust, and foods.

We are born with constitutional strengths and weaknesses and some people are simply born with sensitivity to certain things. While some manage to outgrow the sensitivity, others become even more reactive to the offending stimulus. Our lifestyle will play an important role in how well our natural immune system functions. In fact only 4% of the population has ”true” allergies. The word “allergy” is commonly used when any adverse reaction to food, drugs, or other substances happens. However, the word “allergy” only truly applies when IgE-primed mast cells release histamine and other chemicals in response to a normally harmless substance (the allergen). Most people experience an “intolerance” or “sensitivity” to something in their environment. Never the less, the discomfort is real.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to restoring health. It is very important to determine the root cause of discomfort based on each patient’s individual pattern of symptoms. Two patients can suffer the same symptoms, such as hay fever, yet based on their constitutional differences; the diagnosis and treatment will be very different. When balance is restored, the body will self-correct so that it no longer overreacts to harmless substances in the environment.

If you are suffering from springtime allergies, poor sleep, or fatigue, it is a good indication that something is out of balance. It is important to address the underlying causes of the symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves. Over the counter remedies offer a quick fix, but don’t get to the source of the problem.

Acupuncture is a powerful tool to help restore our natural vitality. When the body is balanced, the pathways to better health natural vitality are opened. With proper immune support, the energy of springtime can be enjoyed!

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The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA


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