That blustery wind, those warmer mornings and nights, sunshine hitting our faces, Spring is here!! A sigh of relief from many I hear. Energetically, with all this warmth, Spring is the season of growth. Time to start those projects you left on the back burner during this cold, stagnant winter. Plant that herb garden, set that early alarm to get up and exercise, practice those confidence building affirmations in front of the mirror, you gorgeous thing you! Let’s ditch that huge winter jacket for that cute picnic outfit you bought in last season’s sales!! Gosh I am excited! However,
I know there are a few people who dread the thought of Spring. These people not only check their weather app for the chance of rain, but also the pollen count. Yeah….hay fever season. The plants are getting frisky and the winds are picking up and that combo is a recipe for disaster for so many faces. You know the drill; itchy, sneezy, dry, wet, snotty, puffy, sore. Yeah, no thanks! And let’s face it, unless you’re in a bubble suit, arguing over whether it is the Moors or the Moops, you’re going to be out and about, breathing in the pollen filled air. No fair! How many antihistamines must you go through to get through at least a part of your day? Well, how about trying something a little different? Different to reaching for another brand of tablet, longing for relief, hoping that your body isn’t used to that formula yet.
With the help of needles, Gua Sha, cupping, and herbs, Chinese Medicine has another take on the whole hay fever deal none of us want to suffer from. Let me break it down to you, TCM theory style. These signs and symptoms are a combination of different External Pathogens (ones with fun names like Wind, Heat, and Cold), attacking and penetrating the body’s Defensive Energy. But only concentrating on the Pathogens is a symptomatic treatment and because Chinese Medicine is a whole body, holistic style of medicine, we also look at the root of the issue, to help protect from further attacks.
Enter the Five Element Theory. Have you seen this picture before, or something like it? Totally ok if you haven’t. I have popped it in for a visual reference. This is one of the many theories that Chinese Medicine uses to help heal the body. Briefly, the five elements all relate to particular organs, seasons, tastes, colours, directions, and a whole heap more. The Defensive Energy is governed by the Metal element which correlates with the Fei (Lung). Tonifying the Metal element boosts that Defensive Qi, giving those pesky External Pathogens a hard time getting to you. Another element in play in the whole hay fever saga is the Earth element. The Earth element, correlating to the Pi (Spleen), generates the Metal element in this cycle. Generates sounds a bit confusing, I prefer to say mothers. And like a caring and healthy Mother, it nourishes the Metal element and ensures it is at its best. If the Mother is weak then so is the Child. We must keep both of them in tip top shape.
We have some pretty amazingly helpful acupuncture points up our sleeves (well actually, on your face and bod) that we combine together to help treat External Pathogenic attacks! We also have herbs that have been used for thousands of years with cool names like ‘Jade Screen’ to help out too. But we don’t want you to have to rely on us the whole time to help nourish and tonify the Metal and Earth elements. You will have to do some of your own homework. Never fear, no 500-word essays here, your homework is food! Yay! Foods that can help you out in this seasons are ones like oats and rice, chicken and pork, broccoli and sweet potatoes, sesame seeds and honey, apples and dates. Have oats, cooked with rice milk, and add in local honey and apples for some flavour. Steam chicken with a bit of broccoli, top off with some sesame seed oil and have with rice. Bake a sweet potato and add it with minced pork and dates. Make it simple and fun, and keep the cooking light and easily digestible.
If you are one of the poor people who struggle with this season in Melbourne, come on in and chat to us. We have more information to give, more tricks to do at home to help out, more food ideas to incorporate and limit, and heaps of tissues in the clinic.
You can book yourself in for a consult to discuss your hay fever concerns with one of the Doctors of Zhong Centre here
Written by guest author: Dr Alice Morgan