Archive for tag: allergies

Salt Cave Therapy

I wanted to try an alternative therapy for my allergies and annoying cough that I developed a week and a half ago. A colleague recommended that I try salt cave therapy. I had never heard of it but was willing try it out. 

Salt cave therapy is touted as an all-natural way to help relieve symptoms from allergies, asthma, even bronchitis and common cold. Salt therapy started in early Europe during Roman and Medieval times. 

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The Salt Cave Therapy is literally a cave-like setting in which you are completely surrounded by salts (surface, room, floor) and natural minerals. The therapeutic level of treatment is 45-50 minutes where you sit and relax as air enriched with sea iodine is introduced in the room. 

How does it work? Well, when you breathe the salt particles into your body, it supposedly allows anti-infectious property power to help stimulate your immune system to help bring overall balance to your body and also help you recover quicker from symptoms you are currently experiencing. 

I experienced the Salt Caves last Thursday afternoon at a spa in Naperville called Timeless Spa and Salt Cave. I really enjoyed the experience. The cost was $25 dollars for 48 minutes. I had a private adult session, which was very relaxing. The spa also has adult and children sessions. The best way to describe my experience at the salt cave would be, "It was like being at an ocean beach breathing in salt water air." The staff was very friendly. I wore my regular clothes into the salt cave but had to wear white socks. The spa provided mediation music, lighting, zero gravity chairs, and blankets. You are allowed to walk around the room and enjoy some reflexology for your feet but are asked to remain in the zero gravity chairs when the treatment starts. I did not fall asleep but I did focus on deep breathing exercises. 

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After the treatment, I felt more relaxed. My coughing and sneezing stopped. I was able to breath easier. This lasted for three days. They recommend 5-10 sessions. I would definitely go back next week and bring my three-year-old son who has been recently diagnosed with asthma. There are a few other salt caves in Chicago and Glen Ellyn if you are interested in salt therapy for allergies, asthma and upper respiratory issues. 

Recommendations: If you are interested in the salt caves you should check with your physician, especially if you are currently under doctor's care for serious conditions. It is also not recommended if you have thyroid issues or are pregnant. 

Thanks for the continued support of the AOM Blog. Have a great week!

Springtime Allergies

It is officially spring! Spring is the time of birth, where yang energy is full and abundant. For many people, however, spring and summer are seasons for allergies.

Allergies, or allergic rhinitis, are due to an over-reactivity of the immune system to certain allergens. During spring and summer, allergies are generally induced by wind-born tree, grass or weed pollen, and can cause such symptoms as: sneezing; nasal congestion; runny nose; watery, itchy, or red eyes; headaches; fatigue; and sometimes coughing and wheezing. When allergens and antibodies react in individuals with allergic rhinitis, their nasal mucosa becomes swollen and may obstruct drainage from the sinuses causing sinusitis in many people. Thus, sinus infections are a frequent complication and consequence of allergic rhinitis.

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While spring and summer are the seasons of the year that bring us outdoors, many people are unable to enjoy these warmer months due to uncomfortable symptoms. Chinese medicine can help bring relief of symptoms, correct imbalances of the immune system, prevent the occurrence of infection, and allow healing of tissues of the sinuses. 

From a Chinese point of view, allergic rhinitis is due to a deficiency of the Lung and Kidney's Defensive-Qi systems, combined with retention of chronic "Wind" in the nose. 

Allergic rhinitis often starts in early childhood, with a constitutional weakness, but it may also start later in life, with a progressive decline of Kidney-Qi. Lung and Kidney Qi Deficiency is the root of the problem, therefore, with herbal medicine and acupuncture, we strengthen and nourish these organs. The manifestation of the disease is Wind invading the Lung channel in the nose. This accounts for the acute attacks. With herbs and acupuncture, we clear the Wind, reduce congestion, and open the nasal passages. It is necessary to treat both the root and the manifestation in order to produce lasting results. 

The western treatment of allergic rhinitis relies mostly on the use of antihistamine agents. Unfortunately, antihistamines only treat the manifestations of the disease and not the root. In addition, they cause side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, nervousness, dryness, and gastrointestinal disturbance. 

Chinese medicine offers allergy sufferers a way to strengthen their bodies and significantly reduce their symptoms, without unpleasant side effects. You do not have to spend another season living with allergies. 

Here are acupuncture points from my class notes and CAM book. I have clinically used these points in the clinic and I feel they are very effective in treating allergies, postnasal drips and colds. 

Wind-Cold Affecting the Lung

Treatment Points 

Main Points:

  • UB 12 - Main point for Wind Disorders
  • GB 20 - Expel Wind
  • GV 23 - Expel Wind from the Nose
  • UB 13 - LU Back Shu
  • LU 7 - Restore the Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU Qi 

Local Points:

  • Use various local points for the sinus issues: LI 20 a/or Yintang and Bitong (extra pt. - good local points for sinus issues

Wind-Heat Affecting the LU

Signs & Symptoms

  • Similar to general Wind-Heat as it presents with the common cold, however, there are more signs of an underlying KD a/or LU Deficiency
  • Patient may have: fever and chills w/fever predominating, slight sweating, runny nose w/yellow discharge, headaches, body aches, cough, itchy red eyes (heat), scratchy throat (wind) 

Treatment Protocol

  • Expel Wind-Heat
  • Restore the Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU Qi 

Treatment Points

Main Points:

  • UB 12 - Main point for Wind Disorders
  • UB 13 - LU Back Shu
  • LI 4 & LI 11 - used together to clear heat and move the LI 

Local Points:

  • LI 20 a/or Yintang - good local points for sinus issues
  • GB 20 & UB 2 - used together for itchy eyes 

Word to the wise: The treatment protocols mentioned above are to be used after a complete tongue and pulse examination. The effectiveness of these treatments may vary based on the differential diagnosis, while other points should be added or not used based on your patient history and complete examination. 

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a great week!