THE ENERGY OF SEASONAL ALLERGIES
When the world is in bloom and everything feels springy but your energy levels, seasonal allergies may be killing your vibe.
In general, allergies are an energetic representation of emotional resistance, overactive emotions, and too much “doing.” While many healing systems can be used to explain these dynamics, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the most ancient and reliable resources when it comes to understanding energetic expression in the body. We sat down with Dr. Jill Jaynes, Acupuncture Physician, to help us unravel the energetics behind seasonal allergies.
To understand the concept, we first need to cover a bit about the Laws of Nature and her elements. There are 5 main elements of nature: earth, metal, water, wood, and fire.
Fire generates Earth (if you want to clear the earth and stimulate new growth, you do a controlled burn to char the area. The charring creates more nitrogen in the soil to stimulate that new growth.)
Earth generates Metal (we dig in the ground to find our gold and other metals)
Metal generates water (like an air conditioner would generate water)
Water generates wood (trees grow toward water)
Wood generates fire (we only need to rub two sticks together to understand this law)
Each organ in the body is associated with a particular element
Fire is heart, small intestine, pericardium
Earth is spleen, stomach, pancreas
Metal is lung and large intestine
Water is bladder, kidneys, adrenals
Wood is appendix, gall bladder, liver
Traditional Chinese Medicine describes imbalance in terms of excess or deficiency of chi (energy) in a certain organ/element. These excesses or deficiencies are not something that would necessarily show up in lab work at this stage.
Let’s look at the background: according to TCM, the heart resembles fire. If we follow the Laws of Nature, we know that fire generates earth, and water controls fire, which tells us how the body will be inclined to respond. When the fire element is aggravated in the body, the body will attempt to produce or retain water in order to control it. This additional water element most often takes the form of mucous. (Yuck!) The kidney is what grasps the chi to hold it in and control the water. Thus, allergies most often present themselves as a deficiency of kidney chi.
There are everyday habits that encourage the production of mucous in the body. Awareness and attention to these can go a long way toward keeping allergies in check or getting them back in balance after a flare-up.
Things that cause or encourage the production of mucous:
Monkey mind: Overthinking, masticating, chewing on thoughts and emotions.
Overdoing - the run, run, run of the rat race of our modern lifestyle
Feeding the body cold, raw, damp foods - salads, ice cream, ice water. If we go back to the Laws of Nature, we know that nothing can be nourished when it’s frozen. When the Earth is frozen, it has to work harder to allow the transformation that it needs to produce the elements required to regenerate and grow vegetation. In the same way, when the Earth element (stomach) has only cold elements introduced to it, it has a hard time producing what it needs (Hydrochloric acid) to digest food.
The real problem lies in the idea that when your body is expressing the symptoms of allergies, it has already righted itself to become balanced. It will fight to keep that balance, even thought it’s a sick balance. Therefore, you may find yourself craving cold, mucous-producing foods like cheese, pizza and ice cream. You may find your mind becomes overactive, overthinking, masticating on thoughts or emotions.
Getting relief after physical symptoms are already present:
What to do? Start here when you things get out of control:
As a habit - work at keeping your body in balance. If you have a tendency toward allergies, “You may want to take a pause rather than a pill,” says Dr. Jill, “to figure out what’s happening within your psyche that’s producing this lack of peace.”
Check in and take stock of where your life is: Look at areas of life causing a stress response in the body.
Develop a practice that brings the body back to calm and connection - mindfulness, meditation, journaling, yoga, or any other practice that restores your sense of peace.
Choose your fuel wisely: Use foods to strengthen lungs, which includes anything white -chicken, clear broth, water chestnuts, onions, garlic, parsnips. Choose warm fuels such as tea.
Breathwork: Breathing exercises focused on moving air in and out through the nose are ideal. When you focus on the full inhalation and exhalation, all thought ceases. This provides a break in the cycle when the mind is overactive.
Treating Allergies with Traditional Chinese Medicine
See someone licensed and educated. If you choose to treat your allergies with TCM, your practitioner will check your tongue and pulses to get a read on how your body is responding. These two methods provide an overview of what’s going on with your vital organs. After assessing the body for excesses and deficiencies, acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas may be offered for relief. Our western culture has us conditioned for quick fixes that work in a matter of days to alleviate symptoms. As herbal formulas address underlying imbalances, they must be adhered to for 90 days. This is the length of time required to produce a new cell.
Bottom line, if spring allergies have you hiding under the hypo-allergenic covers instead of blossoming this spring, it’s time to take that pause. Get in touch with your body. Learn how to work with the energetics being presented. Find a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine near you and try this ancient and effective approach to managing the energy of seasonal allergies.