Your TCM guide to surviving the season's hottest 🥵 symptoms
This time of year is always tough on those of us with allergies. But the recent smoky air in Calgary is making us all pay more attention to our respiratory health. Both allergies and the effects of poor air quality relate to the Lung organ system in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and TCM offers us tools to manage many of the symptoms.
*But before we get into it, remember that precautions from your local health authority are the most important way to protect yourself from wildfire smoke. This information is not a substitute for medical care, which you should always seek if you experience persistent or acute symptoms. So what are some ways TCM can help relieve itchy, watery eyes, sniffling, sneezing, cough, and support and soothe the Lung system?
1) Acupuncture: You knew I was going to say that, right? Acupuncture is great at both preventing seasonal allergies in the long-term, and helping manage annoying daily symptoms. Acupuncture also offers treatment protocols for chronic cough, sore and dry throat, and asthma. If you'd like to learn more about how acupuncture works for allergies, Evidence-Based Acupuncture provides a great summary that you can read here. 2) Self-acupressure at home: Self-acupressure involves using massage rather than needles to stimulate acupuncture points for a therapeutic effect. If you've signed up for my newsletter, you've probably already received my guide to self-acupressure for stress and sleep. This guide teaches you how to use acupressure at home. And while it focuses on sleep and stress, it contains 2 points that can also be used for allergies and lung health: 1. Yintang is a great point for clearing nasal congestion and for calming an itchy or runny nose. 2. Ren 17 is used to help settle coughs, clear chest congestion and support the Lungs.
If you'd like instructions on how to find and use these points, download the guide here.
3) Lung Supporting Foods: In TCM, many white and light-coloured foods are known to nourish and support the Lungs. This include turnips, mushrooms, radish, onions and scallions, watercress, rice, apples and pears, sesame seeds (white or black), almonds and honey. You can incorporate more of these foods into your diet to benefit the Lung system. If you're experiencing nasal congestion or phlegmy cough, reducing "damp-forming" foods in the diet can help. This includes cow dairy products, greasy foods, and cold or frozen food and drink such as smoothies and salads. Swap these for dairy alternatives (for example, oat milk), warm drinks (mint tea is great for summer as it actually cools down the body), and cooked vegetables. If you're looking for more dietary support, an acupuncturist can help you identify the most appropriate foods for your unique needs, and may suggest a TCM herbal formula for additional support. -- I hope this guide helps you as we navigate the climate challenges of the summer together. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. And if you'd like to give acupuncture a try for your allergies or cough symptoms, click here to book.