Focus on Your Health - Hayfever
‘We hope you enjoy and benefit from what will be a regular series of articles on various health conditions. We have a brief overview of the condition and then a section where some of the Guild therapists share their expertise in treating the condition. What they recommend is not intended to replace orthodox medical care but to complement it and to give other suggestions if what you have tried has not so far worked for you.
Different therapists specialise in different conditions and even within similar therapies, you will find different approaches some of which may suit you better than others. Sometimes, a combination of therapies will suit.
Most conditions are affected by stress, diet and lifestyle choices, contributing emotional causes and energetic imbalances. You might find that one therapist suits you and helps relieve all your symptoms or you might find that a combination of therapies will gradually work for you.
Generally, we recommend that you give each therapy time to work but that if you have had absolutely no benefit whatsoever within 3-4 sessions, then probably, that approach is not for you and you may well get on better with someone else.
When you choose to see a therapist, you have chosen to make a positive difference. We wish you every success and will support you in changing your life for the better.'
This Month we will be looking at 'hay fever':
Different people have slightly different symptoms and some of the characteristic symptoms of allergic rhinitis or hay fever are: a runny, itchy nose, sneezing fits, and nasal congestion and obstruction, itchy, runny eyes, and eyelid swelling and ear problems.
There can also be behavioural signs; in order to relieve the irritation or flow of mucus, patients may wipe or rub their nose with the palm of their hand in an upward motion: an action known as the "nasal salute". This may result in a crease running across the nose (or above each nostril if only one side of the nose is wiped at a time.) It can lead to permanent physical deformity if repeated enough.
Sufferers might also find that cross reactivity occurs. For example, someone allergic to birch pollen may also find that he/she has an allergic reaction to the skin of apples or potatoes. A clear sign of this is the occurrence of an itchy throat after eating an apple or sneezing when peeling potatoes or apples. This occurs because of similarities in the proteins of the pollen and the food. There are many cross-reacting substances.
Some other disorders may be associated with allergies, such as eczema, asthma and depression.
Hay fever is not a true fever, meaning it does not cause a core body temperature in the fever range of 37.5–38.3 °C (99.5-100.9 °F). However, the name still makes some sense because it can cause increased fluctuation in the core temperature of a sufferer, in conjunction with inflammation.
Allergic rhinitis may be seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs in particular during pollen seasons. It does not usually develop until after 6 years of age. Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs throughout the year. This type of allergic rhinitis is commonly seen in younger children.
The theory that reflexology brings back body systems to balance may be of use to hay fever sufferers in reducing the severity as there is a potential for rebalancing the immune cells and therefore reducing the hyper reaction to allergens. The intention of a treatment to help a hay fever sufferer would be to provide relaxation, pain relief, increased energy levels and toxin elimination.
Reflexology increases blood flow and improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients around the body. By applying pressure to the hands and feet – where there are thousands of nerve endings – other parts of the body are affected.
Prior to a treatment I would assess medical history, lifestyle and diet and look at any other allergies the client may have. To help the body return to homeostasis, I would complete a full reflexology treatment with lots of relaxation techniques to aid stress around issue, but with thorough work on main areas of involvements: sinuses, eyes, the immune system - lymphatics, thymus and spleen reflexology points. The spleen especially is important to work, being the site of the germinal centres, for antibody production. To help remove toxins, I would also concentrate on working over the liver and kidney areas. The detoxifying effects from a reflexology treatment in clearing unwanted breakdown products can be cleaned out of the system. As a result there may be an increase of thirst and or a requirement to drink and an increase in urination which is implicated in detoxifying the body.
I would also make recommendations about nutrition and detoxification and show simple self- help hand reflexology techniques. Julie Grant-Hapeshi Reflexologist
The entire breadth of the UK has some blooming or pollinating plants most of the year that can cause misery to allergy sufferers. For hay fever sufferers this misery can be great, as in many cases, bad subconscious habits associated with our allergic reactions have been developed. When most people hear the word ‘allergies’ they probably think of sneezing, drippy noses, red eyes and maybe congestion and not associate ‘seasonal allergies’ with other issues such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, poor concentration or sleep issues.
Clinical Hypnotherapy is a treatment that uses guided relaxation, intense concentration and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes also called a trance. In this naturally occurring state of mind, a person can focus their attention on a specific thought, task or issue. Hypnotherapy cannot remove a physiological reaction but can eliminate inappropriate responses to an issue. It is a therapeutic tool often used as an adjunct to psychotherapy but can be considered as a treatment in itself. Hypnotherapy may not be the first approach many people experiencing hay fever may think of but new research carried out by a Swiss team of scientists suggests that self-hypnosis can be effective in giving relief to hay fever sufferers by reducing many symptoms. Hypnosis has an effect on a person’s vascular phase and works by altering blood flow which in turn helps alleviate congestion. Hypnosis reduces stress, which is a known immune suppressor, encouraging the production of T-cells and thus boosting our immune system and fighting allergens such as pollen. Angela Winterton, Dip.Hyp, MHS, GQHP, AdDip.CP, MNCS Acc, Dip.SMC, CNHC Reg. Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapeutic Counsellor
“Flaming June!”…and July and August. Being one of the lucky ones, these summer months to me signal long, warm, sunny days harvesting herbs for drying and medicine making. Unfortunately, for others, Flaming June!… and July and August are seemingly endless months of misery caused by the streaming, prickling eyes; sneezing; a runny nose and an itchy throat brought on by hay fever which is triggered by high pollen levels.
Herbal medicine can help with these distressing symptoms by offering herbs which have an anti-inflammatory action; act as anti-histamines; tone and soothe the mucous membranes of the nose and throat and support the immune system.
Ideally, herbal treatment should begin 2 – 4 months before your hay fever season begins so that your immune system is prepared for the onslaught.
If you are suffering right now, there are herbs you can take which should help to reduce the symptoms of hay fever.
Herbs which reduce inflammation include: Echinacea, Chamomile, Lemon balm, Yarrow and Liquorice. Nettle, Plantain (Ribwort) and Chamomile also have anti-histamine action which can help reduce the unpleasant allergic response triggered by hay fever. Elder flowers, Agrimony and Eyebright tone the mucous membranes and make them less sensitive to pollen. Marshmallow is soothing to these membranes.
One of the above herbs or a combination of two or three can be used to make a tea by adding 1 teaspoon of each dried herb to each cup of freshly boiled water. Cover the pot and allow the tea to infuse for a few minutes. Strain the tea, add some honey to sweeten if you like and drink between 3 and 6 times daily.
Changes to your diet may also help, e.g. removing wheat products and sugar. Eating 1 – 2 dessertspoonfuls of locally produced honey throughout the winter months and leading up to the new season may also help reduce symptoms.
Wendy Griffin, BSc (Hons), MNIMH
If you would like to find out more about any of the treatments, please contact the therapists direct. You can find contact details by clicking HERE