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Seasonal Allergies...can acupuncture help?

It's that time of year again, when freshly cut grass and budding flowers bring misery to many people. Hayfever symptoms are nothing to be alarmed about but they are very unpleasant to live with. Western medicine treatments for hayfever include antihistamines, which reduce the allergic response, or decongestants, which reduce the production of mucus. The trouble with these remedies is that they have side-effects which vary in severity from one individual to another, but which can be even harder to live with than the allergy symptoms. Drowsiness is perhaps the most unpleasant one, seeing that most of us have to get on with a working day, allergy or none. Acupuncture is a side-effect free treatment for allergies. In Chinese Medicine, hayfever is classified as a 'Wind' condition. Many diseases which are characterised by movement are classified as Wind Disease in Chinese medicine. Movement, for example, of itching from one part of the skin to another, of pain from one joint to another. In Classical Chinese Medicine, parasitic invasions are also classed as wind disease.....rapidly moving micro-organisms. To apply  this idea to Hayfever, think of  the role of the wind in moving pollen. The theory is that wind invades the acupuncture channels, causing symptoms which come on rapidly in short bouts. Hayfever can be further classified into wind-cold or wind-heat. Whether the condition develops into a heat or a cold condition will depend a lot on the constitutional tendancies of the sufferer. Wind heat hayfever features green or yellow mucus, sinus pain and pressure and red, itchy eyes. Wind cold hayfever will have clear, thin mucus, sneezing and watery eyes. In either case, the sufferer is said to suffer from weak Wei Qi, or defensive energy, meaning they have poor resistance to common infections such as coughs, colds or flu. Acupuncture treatment can not only relieve the symptoms of hayfever, it can also build a person's resistance to these 'invasions'. Wind physically enters the gallbladder channel through points on the shoulders, along the trapezius muscle, and high on the back of the neck. This proves the old saying was true.... "Ne'er change a clout till May is out'. Always keep your neck covered with a scarf or high collar in windy weather, and don't discard your winter coat too soon. Here in Galway, and especially on the islands, there are very few wind- free days even in the best of summers. We all get caught out during changing seasons, and a course of acupuncture treatment is a great way  to protect yourself, so that when we do get some nice weather you are all set to enjoy it. 

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