In Acupuncture and Chinese medicine many things are compared to nature. When someone is healthy their Qi, or bodies energy-life force, and blood flows through the body like rivers. When energy and blood get stuck things start to dam up in the body. Qi and blood stagnate on one side of the dam and get deficient on the other side. If you think of how a beaver dam looks in nature this give you an idea of what happens in the body. When energy is stuck like this in the body that is when things may start to happen that should not. The body is out of balance and things may start to hurt or grow. When a person has allergies their energy is getting stuck in certain body systems and not flowing like it should. In Chinese medicine we look at where the symptoms are to determine which system is out of balance. We also look at the time of day and the time of year or season that these problems are occurring in, this is another clue to which systems are not working as well as they should.
With allergies they generally come at certain times of the year (many people are worse in the spring and fall) These are times of the year when certain things are in bloom so many people blame the environment, but with Chinese medicine we tend to look at what’s out of balance in this person that causes them to not adapt to these environmental changes as well as they could. The allergies also tend to manifest in certain parts of the body. In many people it affects the eyes, nose, ears and breathing or lungs. We also look at the tongue and take the pulses to give us more clues as to what is happening in the body. After finding which systems are most out of balance we choose acupuncture points and some times herbs that help balance those systems to help people feel better. We are not just treating the symptoms of the itchy eyes or runny stuffy nose we are treating the underlying root imbalances in the body to help them feel better long term. For example last year I had a patient that had tendonitis in his ankle and he had come in for treatment in January. In Chinese medicine we generally support the liver system when someone has tendon/ligament/sinews or joint problems. I had been working on his liver system and getting rid of his tendonitis for almost 3 months. He came back in June to ask if I had done anything that might affect his allergies because he tends to have awful spring allergies. Even though he and I had never discussed his allergies before, this was another sign that his liver system was out of balance. After supporting his liver system for the tendons in his ankle it also helped balance his system so that his allergies improved as well.