08 April 2010

Five Drug-Free Ways to Work With Allergies

Happy Spring!

I never had allergies before. Now I'm all congesty and sneezy and dopey (Congesty... the 8th dwarf). What the hell? I blame the baby. Or I blame working in an office building. I think that not being in the air full-time during the transition between seasons has something to do with an increased sensitivity to those natural things in the air.

Here are some of my suggestions for working with your allergies. Please note, I wrote "working with" and not "fighting" or "curing" or "being rid of them once and for all." We need to stop fighting our bodies and instead work with them. Okay? Okay.

  1. Acupuncture - you already know my favorite place is Pathways to Wellness. I love the clinicians there, and in their group room you can be treated for as little as $20! You will want to "share the care," though because you paying for a treatment helps someone else afford treatment as well. I don't have much to say about how acupuncture treats your allergies, because I don't know. I am not an acupuncturist. I do know however that the overall aim is balance of all of the body's systems, and it does work incredibly well at alleviating symptoms. Trust.
  2. Neti Pot - if I haven't already converted you to using a neti pot, let's make that happen today. You can get one almost anywhere now - Whole Foods, yes, but also many drugstores are carrying them. At first glance it seems a little kooky, but you'll be thanking me when you can breathe at night. And in the morning. Here's the thing: if you're suffering from allergies it's not just about there being lots of mucus in your nasal passages or actual clogged sinuses (though that may indeed be the case). Your sinus passages are often inflamed in response to the environmental irritants. At least mine are. In this case, I'd recommend a neti wash in addition to or even instead of the usual sea salt that goes in your pot. The wash is soothing, contains immune boosters, and helps keep infection from forming in the sinuses. The last thing any of us needs is more antibiotics in our systems.
  3. Local Honey - this is a general remedy that really won't do any harm unless you're allergic to honey. The idea is that there is a little homeopathy in consuming honey that was made from the pollen that you're allergic to. Around Boston, you can take a look here for local honey sources: http://eatlocalhoney.com/ One teaspoon a day is good enough.
  4. Yoga - you knew I was going to say that. So any yoga is good yoga, but what really helps here are deep breathing exercises and chanting. Chanting, you say? Yeah, but really that also could just mean humming. You know how to hum well enough. Well, it's no joke that the vibration you generate especially with the "nnnggggg" or even "mmmm" sounds are going to resonate up into your sinuses and keep things warm and moving. If you're so inclined, you may as well hum. Once you've diminished the pressure in your sinuses, a little supported Legs Up the Wall pose even with a lavender or eucalyptus eye pillow is a nice way to spend ten minutes. Or forty.
  5. Mindful Eating - unlike drugs, that can have unpredictable side effects, gently modifying your food intake is not going to impact your system in a negative way. The spring season is a time for transformation and renewal anyway, so giving the digestion a rest from the foods you've been eating all winter is a nice way to keep your systems running smoothly (literally and figuratively). You may find that even a few days of a different diet can make a big difference. The foods I'm thinking of in particular that can be reduced or even eliminated are refined sugar, dairy, and flour and/or wheat. If you want to take it a step further, remove all meat, corn, and soy from your diet. I'm recommending these because they are the top allergens for most people, and may even cause you to produce more mucus than usual. Your body will work more efficiently and maybe even be better equipped to produce natural antihistamines. If you read these past few sentences and thought to yourself, "If I eliminate these things, what on earth is left to eat?!" I'd be happy to make some suggestions and work you around your tastes. No charge, of course. Health and well-being are my ministry.
And it should be a natural inclination as the weather warms, but yet your ass outside! Exercise! Be in the air! Even (*gasp*) spend some time in the sun! I don't know if the rampant worldwide Vitamin D deficiency is yet another giant hoax perpetrated by the FDA, but 10 minutes in the sun is not going to kill you (if you genuinely believe you have a Vitamin D deficiency then start taking pure unrefined cod liver oil daily).

Happy sneezing!

1 comment:

  1. I have the worst allergies... and you got me hooked on the neti pot. I haven't had a sinus infection in years! But guess what, I didnt pack mine and the vegetation in Rio is crazy. I need to go on a hunt to find one.