Allergies occur when the body's immune system misidentifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to the body. Common allergens are foods, pollen, animal dander, mould, insect venom, drugs, and dust mites. An inflammatory reaction takes place in an attempt to eject this substance from the system, resulting in a variety of symptoms.
According to traditional Chinese medicine several patterns of disharmony may be involved in cases of allergies. In all cases, however, wind is part of the diagnosis, usually combining with another pathogenic influence in wind dampness, wind cold, or wind heat. Typical of patterns involving wind, allergy symptoms often occur without warning. In seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, the most common diagnosis is wind and dampness. This combination produces a sudden onset of symptoms: sneezing, itching eyes and throat, and a heavy sensation in the head, with copious mucus.
The treatment strategy is to repel the wind with herbs that are dispersing in nature. Herbs that drain dampness are also employed in order to clear the nasal passages and sinuses.
Treatment plans for allergies vary greatly, and the possible results range from temporary relief to complete remission. Acupuncture frequently relieves allergy symptoms immediately. Manipulation of points around the nose usually relieves the nasal congestion and sneezing as soon as the needles are inserted. The effects are long-term, and the allergy is virtually eliminated.
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