About 1 in 4 Britons are now affected by hayfever and for around 10%
of these sufferers, Spring can be a time of great misery.
Around 1 in 4 Britons suffer from allergic rhinitis (it’s official name). For around 10% of these sufferers, Spring can be a time of intense misery. And the number has been steadily increasing over recent decades. But pollen, grasses, trees and moulds have always been with us so why the increase? Immunologists point to the hygiene theory (sanitised homes weakening our immune systems). Allergy UK says the increase follows industrialisation and all the pollutants which now bombard us on a daily basis (www.allergyuk.org). I guess this could referrred to as an inflammation theory.
From a Traditional Asian Medicine perspective both of these conditions subject the body to ‘pathogenic wind’ and heat which cannot be sufficiently discharged. Heat should radiate out of the body. With hay fever sufferers, there isn’t sufficient energy to adequately discharge this heat, so the heat rises to the head and gathers around the nose and eyes. Acupuncture can help discharge this heat and bring relief to the symptoms of hay fever. But the real answer lies in strengthening the body so it can cope better with it’s environment and this can take a bit longer.
How you live during Winter prepares your body for Spring. Creating resiliance means different things depending on your constitution – those people who crave warmth and long to hug the radiators throughout the Winter months would benefit from taking regular brisk walks, whilst those who never like to rest and don’t appear to notice the cold would benefit from spending bit more time at home with their feet up. My teacher (Masakazu Ikeda sensei) has noticed that people with hay fever commonly drink excessively (this can overwhelm the kidneys and result in the improper processing of fluids) or they eat too many sweet foods (i.e. sugar which creates heat/inflammation). These behaviours just add fuel to the fire.
Your body is always sending you signals – inflammation, aches, pain, itchiness, mucous discharge, tiredness… Once you start listening to it’s language and addressing it’s needs, it will respond in kind.