It’s that time of year again when the pollen count goes through the roof and many of us become overwhelmed by hay fever and other allergies.
What would have been a lovely day in the sunshine becomes a torment of itchy eyes and throat, sneezing and a slump in energy. Not at all what we want from summer.
It’s at this point that many of us reach for the hay fever tablets to make it through the day. Yet, while popping pills can be great at masking the symptoms, the underlying allergies still lurk untreated.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are some simple and quick techniques to tackle the root cause of allergies like hay fever and even asthma, helping you to enjoy a happier, healthier summertime, and any time for that matter.
So what causes these dreaded allergies and what can we do to overcome them?
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to allergens in our environment, affecting the nose, eyes, lungs and sinus cavities.
In fact, it is one of the most common respiratory conditions, affecting millions of people in the UK every year.
Hay fever causes a slew of very uncomfortable and frustrating symptoms. The most common are itchy eyes and throat, runny nose and sneezing. In severe cases, it can lead to a loss of appetite, insomnia and even depression.
How does Chinese medicine view it?
In Chinese medicine, we recognise hay fever as a weakness of the lungs and digestive system – both responsible for a strong immune system.
Strengthen these organs at the root of the problem, and you will boost your immunity and alleviate symptoms.
That’s because these symptoms are the manifestation of your body trying to push excessive allergens out. It’s a warning sign that your body needs help at a deeper level.
So we treat the root cause and the symptoms together, for a more lasting solution to the misery of hay fever.
Why does stress make hay fever worse?
Hay fever strikes when the immune system is overwhelmed by excess allergens.
This is even worse if you’re leading a stressful, busy life, because your immune system is hugely compromised when the body’s stress response is activated.
Stress strains the lungs, creating inflammation and heat, which plays havoc on the immune system.
Stress also disrupts your circulation and creates internal heat in the body, which gets stored in the muscles. Poor circulation also impacts on your immunity.
Your digestive system is also disrupted by stress. This leads to food not being digested properly and a loss of valuable nutrients.
Our digestive system is already sabotaged by our modern lifestyles – imbalanced diets, late night eating and climate stress – all weakening the very organ that helps us cope with allergies.
Overcoming hay fever with Hayo’u
Fortunately there are some quick and simple techniques we can employ to overcome the misery of hay fever and allergies, so that we can start feeling and looking a whole lot better.
Our founder, Katie Brindle, has created rituals that distil thousands of years of Chinese medicine into just one-minute of practice.
Fitting easily into your daily routine, they will help strengthen your lungs, digestive and immune systems. They will also clear heat, inflammation and impeded circulation caused by stress.
A few minutes without breath and we’re all stuffed.
But more than just keeping us alive, breathing is the single most immediate and powerful self-healing cure we have.
Deep breathing exercises are the quickest way to get your oxygen levels up and increase negative ions in the body. This deep abdominal breathing can neutralise the pH balance, reduce inflammation, and promote a relaxed state.
Another important way to clear inflammation and improve your body’s immune response to allergies like hay fever is Gua Sha.
This therapeutic healing technique has been widely practised in China for millenia. It involves using a round-edged tool, traditionally made from jade or metal to press and stroke the face or body.
Studies have shown that Gua Sha can treat a whole range of conditions, including hay fever. It helps to disperse toxins by increasing circulation and aiding the lymphatic and immune systems. Then as the blood is reabsorbed by the body it promotes an enzyme with anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.
Your diet can have a surprising impact on your response to allergens. The best thing you can do is avoid inflammatory foods. At the top of this list is refined sugars and carbohydrates. Any food that converts into sugar very quickly in the body is going to cause inflammation. Cutting these out can go a long way to improving symptoms of hay fever.