Posts Tagged ‘nasal congestion’
Apr 1, 2013
April allergies can be cruel. Headache, itchy eyes, sneezing, and scratchy throat are overwhelming. Chinese herbal formulas are very effective for reducing the runny nose and stuffiness, headaches, and itchy eyes,
Nasal Symptoms and Sinus Headache
For people with hay fever and sinus symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and sinus headache the overall most effective formulas is called Bi Min Gan Wan, the nasal congestion formula. This is a mild formula that helps to reduce headache, nasal congestion.
In Chinese medicine, itchy eyes from allergies is generally from heat. The herbal formula best for itchy eyes form heat is Sang Ye Tang. This formula has mulberry leaf and chrysanthemum flowers that help to relieve itchy eyes. Another effective formula for itchy eyes is called Qi Ju Di Huang Tang, which has gou qi zi and ju hua that stop eye itching.
Asthma with Allergies
Because allergies and asthma are so closely connected, allergies can trigger asthma attacks, those with asthma often need different herbal formulas. Sometimes there is too little qi. In this case, formulas like Jade Wind Screen works to boost qi and release external wind. Also, the mushroom Cordyceps or Reishi is helpful to boost the qi.
Apr 18, 2012
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a chronic infection of the sinuses that causes nasal congestion, sinus pain, and headaches. Chronic rhinosinusitis, commonly called chronic sinusitis, affects your energy, sleep, and work. Some research suggest that chronic sinusitis can even lead to depression and anxiety.
Conventional medication often is not completely successful in treating the symptoms. Many patients have been turning to acupuncture Chinese medicine for help. In our New York City acupuncture clinic, we often use acupuncture, acupressure, and herbs to reduce the symptoms of sinusitis, especially during the spring allergy seasons which can exacerbate the sinusitis symptoms.
A comprehensive approach to chronic sinusitis
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, it is important to include many of the modalities used in acupuncture therapy. I use acupuncture, acupressure, and sometimes Chinese herbal remedies to help relieve the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis, help people reduce medication, and avoid surgery.
The acupuncture therapy targets acupuncture points on channels that help reduce pain and pressure in the sinuses. Acupuncture points can be located on the arms or legs on channels which travel to the sinuses. These points are LI 4, LI 11, Lu 5, SP 9, ST 36, St 44, GB 34, and SJ 5. For some people, acupuncture points on top of or near the sinuses are needed. These points can include LI 20, ST 4, Bi Tong, and Yin Tang.
Acupuncture points selection is based upon the imbalances which cause the condition. For example, acupuncture discusses the circulation of energy, or qi, in the body. If there too little qi, a common cause of sinus headaches, then the qi should be boosted with ST 36 and SP 9. But if there is more heat which often happens with inflammation, acupuncture points such as LI 11 or ST 44 should be selected.
Acupressure on the neck, head, shoulders, and back helps to increase circulation, decrease pain, and drain the lymph. I will also instruct my patients on a self acupressure routine for patients to perform on their own. Often, patients will begin to feel relief after a few acupuncture sessions.
It is important to understand that acupuncture is not an either or when it comes to your conventional therapies for chronic sinusitis. The first goal to is help you feel better. When you are consistently feeling better you can work with your physician to reduce the amount of medication.
Research on the Integrative East West Medicine approach
A paper was recently published examining an east west integrative treatment protocol for patients with recurrent chronic rhinosinusitis (1).
The treatment involved a combination of the patient’s current therapies, most often nasal corticosteroid spray and nasal irrigation in addition to acupuncture, acupressure, dietary modifications, lifestyle modifications, and self-acupressure. As you can see, the researchers used a pretty comprehensive approach.
The study was small with only eleven patients. But it showed potential for this therapeutic approach. The patients, overall, reported improvements in their physical functioning, social engagement, less needing to blow their nose, and an improvement in their ability to concentrate. I hope that larger studies will be conducted to further explore the power of acupuncture to relieve symptoms, reduce dependence on medications, and help people avoid surgery.
1. Suh JD, Wu AW, Taw MB, Nguyen C, Wang MB. Treatment of recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitis with integrative East-west medicine: a pilot study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;138(3):294-300.
Apr 25, 2011
These days I am getting a lot of people inquiring about acupuncture treatment for April Allergies. Just look around, the trees are in bloom and April allergies are in full swing.
Often, new patients are curious about how acupuncturists treat allergies. Where do you do the acupuncture? What is the acupuncture doing? If I have nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, and a headache, why are you looking at my tongue? Are there any good herbs for April allergies?…
Here are your answers…
Where do you do the acupuncture?
Because the body is connected by acupuncture channels, also called acupuncture meridians, acupuncturist do not always have to treat where you are feeling the symptoms. Most often the acupuncture points I use will be below the knees and from the elbows to the tips of the fingers.
The acupuncture points will be chosen according to your specific symptoms and the imbalances that are causing your symptoms. This is why we ask a lot of questions, take your pulse, look at your tongue, and press many acupuncture points to find the specific imbalance causing the allergies.
If there is lack of circulation in the lung channel, we may choose Lung 6 on the forearm. But if there is a lot of inflammation we may choose lung 5 to get rid of the heat. This is often paired with Large Intestine 4 on the hand to relieve congestion in the sinuses. Stomach 36 at the knee can be helpful as well to relieve the congestion in the sinuses, but if there is a lot of phlegm I may also do Stomach 40 on the lower leg.
What is the acupuncture doing?
Acupuncture works to correct imbalances in the body. Chinese medicine views health as a state of balance inside the body, but also between the body and the environment. This make sense for allergies, allergens in the environment are irritating the body causing imbalances.
By removing the imbalance, the acupuncture allows the body to heal itself, clearing inflammation and reducing allergy symptoms.
If I have nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, and a headache, why are you looking at my tongue?
Gathering information about your symptoms is important to diagnosis the correct imbalance. The tongue is a reflection of the imbalances causing the allergies.
I look for the color of the tongue, the thickness of the fluid on the tongue called the tongue coat, cracks on the tongue, and I look at the size of the tongue. Using this, I create the acupuncture prescription which corrects that specific imbalance. Not every patient will get the same acupuncture points for allergies.
Are there any good herbs for April allergies?
Yes, I often give herbs for allergies and take them myself. Depending on your symptoms, different herbal formulas may be best for you. You can read more about Traditional Chinese Medicine for Allergies.
Photo: Peter Lee
Apr 15, 2011
This week my spring allergies kicked in big time. Sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat, congestion, and a headache. All this means I feel crappy and tired.
Luckily, I have many therapies at my fingertips for my allergies. Just as I do for my patients, I use a combination of acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal remedies for my allergies. Here are the five things.
1. Acupuncture for allergies is amazing. Acupuncture for allergies help to decrease pressure, pain, and headache. It can open up closed sinuses, and help to reduce itchy eyes and nose. Some of the best acupuncture points are Large Intestine 4 and Stomach 36 on the hand and leg. Also, DU 20, UB4, and UB 7 on the head work great.
2. Acupressure for allergies can be done both by an acupuncturist and also the patients themselves. I teach a routine in my acupressure class at the Open Center called the Dao Yin, which focuses on opening up the sinuses and increasing circulation in the head. It works wonders.
Start by massaging LI 20 on the side of the nose, and UB 1 near the eyes. Massage the scalp and the ears. LI 4 and ST 36 are also helpful with acupressure. I will be writing more about acupressure for allergies, check back soon.
3. Yin Qiao San is an herbal formula which helps to reduce scratch and sore throat. The formula is focused on releasing wind heat in the body. It is also effective for itchy eyes, particulatly if the herb man jing zi and ju hua are added to the formula.
4. My favorite herbal formula for nasal congestion and headache is called Bi Yan Pian. This literally means nasal clearing formula. This formula helps to open the sinuses, clear the nose, and reduce headache. It is very strong, so it is important to begin taking it in moderation.
5. Cang er zi tang is another formula for nasal congestion. This herbal formula for allergies I like to use as nasal drops. The herbs are finely powdered and immersed in sesame oil. This helps to reduce inflammation directly in the nose and moisten the nasal passage.
Oct 8, 2010
This fall is very cold and rainy here in New York, easy to catch a cold. In my last post I wrote about acupuncture for the common cold. In this post, I will discuss Chinese herbs and herbal formulas.
It is important to take the herbs that are right for you, as well as purchase high quality herbs. So before you take any herbs, it is important to consult a trained herbalist.
Gan Mao Ling: Gan mao means “common cold” in Chinese. This herbal formula is great for preventing and treating common colds. Take it preventatively when there is a cold going around or if you have a cold. It is best to treat are sore and itchy throat, and a little cough. If you are sweating gan mao ling may not be strong enough.
Yin qiao san: Yin qiao san is stronger than gan mao ling. If you are experiencing a light fever and light chills, sweating, and a sore scratchy throat, this may be a good formula for you. Gan mao ling is better for mild colds and also to prevent a common cold. Yin qiao san is better for stronger colds and it is best to take the herbs early in the cold.
Bi yan pian: Bi yan pian is a powerful formula for nasal congestion and sinus headaches. This can be used during the cold. It can also address the nasal congestion and runny nose that follows a cold.
Ling zhi: Ling zhi, also called reishi, is a mushroom that is used to boost immunity. This herb is best to take in small doses as a way to prevent getting a cold. It won’t help that much after you get a cold. It will help to give you immune system a boost to prevent the cold from coming on.