According to Healthline, between 10 and 30 percent of all adults and as many as 40 percent of all children experience symptoms during pollen season, from runny noses, to headaches, to an itchy throat, to watery eyes, or for those who are really unlucky -- all of the above. Antihistamines are commonly recommended but can come with negative side effects.
It’s an awkward time to be sneezing, but luckily pollen season woes can be managed simply and effectively with Traditional Chinese Medicine. While the terminology might sound foreign, like pinpointing one’s Qi deficiency, stabilizing “one’s Exterior” and “expelling Wind”, the end results for minimizing scratchy eyes, chronic sneezing and congestion when trees and grass bud can be profound - and simple.
Moreover, many of these recommendations will help boost your body’s natural mechanisms to strengthen immunity - precisely what we need as we’re trying to assess if a sneeze represents allergies, “or the other thing.”
Five Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Recommendations to Practice Now to Minimize Sneezing this Spring
Gua Sha - It’s Not Just Great for Tik Tok, but Seasonal Allergies, Too
Gua Sha is a body and face scraping technique that's used for a variety of health needs. It's part of the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine with history in the Shanghan Lun, an ancient Chinese medical text dating to 220 AD. Gua Sha involves the use of a tool to stroke the skin to increase circulation.
For sinus relief during allergy season using Gua Sha, simply follow the natural curve of the cheekbone, moving the tool from the side of the nose and up towards the hairline. Also, roll over the brow bone, moving from inner to outer brow.
Two “Acupressure” Points to Ease Itching, Sneezing and Sinus Pressure
Not unlike acupuncture, acupressure involves placing “pressure” on certain points on your body to elicit a physiological response (like with acupuncture, you are stimulating energy within your body). During allergy season, there are two recommended points that can assist with common woes:
To open nasal passages and reduce itching and scratching, “Point LI20” next to the nostril.
To ease sinus pressure and headaches, “Point LI4”, which is the mound between your thumb and index finger.
Apply pressure to the two mounts for approximately 1-2 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Like with acupuncture, the results can be fast.
Kick the Antihistamines and Embrace the Herbs
When the trees and grass sprout, it’s appropriate to “tonify” your Lung and Spleen Qi. You also want to “protect your exterior” from “wind invasions”, loosely defined as things we can catch - colds, flus and viruses. Consider Immunity Support, inspired by the classic formula Yu Ping Feng San, a formula that’s over 750 years old and includes the adaptogen astragalus, awesome for helping with chronic sneezing, while providing a powerful immunity boost.
Practice this Breathing Technique to Strengthen Your Lungs
Qi Gong is a system of movement, breath and medication that has numerous health and aging benefits. A “mini” Qi Gong practice that you can apply during allergy season to promote the functions of your lungs is as follows:
Sit straight up, breathing evenly. As you exhale, bend forward at the waist as much as possible. Hold this position momentarily. As you inhale, begin sitting up again. When you are sitting erect again, hold your breath for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times.
Adjust Your Diet to Reduce Phlegm
While it’s always a good idea to opt for steamed vegetables, whole grains and clean protein, they are particularly helpful in helping reduce phlegm. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory, phlegm is considered to be mucous, sputum, clogged ears and postnasal drip, all too common woes this time of year. By focusing on these food-types while reducing (if not removing) dairy, sugar, cold foods and greasy foods, you can dramatically reduce phlegm - and allergy symptoms!