The pollen is here! The pollen is here!
I don’t know about you, but my stuffy nose and itchy eyes and throat are a nightmare right now. Even though we had some frigid weather in January, with the overall warmer winter we had this year, it has led to a whopper of an allergy season. Sadly that is triggering earlier-than-normal allergy symptoms for us. And, I bet you might not know this, but scientists are showing us that climate change is causing more carbon dioxide in our environment, and you want to know what that does? It informs a lot of plants to produce more and more pollen, and the pollen itself is more amped robust and more powerful. Just great!
Allergies manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from itchy watery eyes, a sore scratchy throat, coughing up congestion, to hives and full-body itchiness.
Here is what happens: Allergies develop when your immune system mistakenly identifies a certain environmental substance as a threat, and reacts accordingly by producing Immunoglobulin E antibodies to fight off the perceived offender. This is like a warning bell to your body, and the antibodies go on high alert and tells the body to produce histamines and many other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. It’s just a hamster wheel of never ending sneezes at this point.
What to do? What to do?
Of course while over the counter medication options assist to some degree, and there are allergy shots, and of course building up your body’s defense system to improve immunity, massage therapy is an all-natural tool when it comes to fighting allergies and offering you some relief, and I will tell you how:
* Massage encourages blood circulation and lymphatic drainage all throughout the body, so specifically, allergy sufferers might especially find relief with massage work that focuses on lymph nodes and massage strokes that help flush toxins and fluids. Certain facial massage techniques can encourage the drainage and decongestion of sinuses, and if you are not opposed to some essential oil, a dab of Peppermint around the hairline and the middle of the forehead will help open the sinuses while I’m giving a massage.
* Oh, here is that “stress” word again, but did you know that stress can make your already annoying allergies even worse than they already are? That’s because when you’re stressed, your body releases additional histamines, prompting even greater allergy symptoms. Remember, massages can lower the stress hormone, called, cortisol. Massage will relieve stress and help this overall process at least be more bearable and help you feel a lot better, both physically and emotionally.
* There are even spots in your feet that, when worked on, can open healing in the parts of your body affected by allergies. For example, an area near the ball of your foot are linked to your lungs, a point near the tip of your big toes are connected to your sinuses, and an area on the undersides of your second and third toes are linked to your eyes.
Some self-massage ideas below you can use to give yourself a little help along the way are:
For all points, hold or massage for 20 seconds to two minutes or until there is a release. The pressure should feel good and relaxing.
A couple of my favorite essential oils that help my allergies are:
Breathing in peppermint oil can oftentimes immediately unclog the sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and provides relief for allergies, as well as colds, coughs, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis. It has the power to discharge phlegm and reduce inflammation, which is a leading cause of allergic reactions. Peppermint oil is one of my all-time favorites and probably my go-to oil of all time.
I love the scent of eucalyptus, and this oil helps opens up the lungs and sinuses, thereby improving circulation and reducing symptoms of allergies. Studies have shown that it produces a cold sensation in the nose that helps to improve airflow. Eucalyptus contains “citronellal,” which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. It works as an expectorant as well, helping to cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microorganisms that are acting as allergens.
Lemon oil supports lymph drainage and helps with overcoming respiratory conditions. Studies have shown that lemon essential oil inhibits the growth of bacteria and boosts the immune system. When diffused, lemon oil can kill bacteria and eliminate allergy triggers in the air, too! Go lemon!
While it is no guarantee that a massage or essential oils will eliminate your allergy pains, massage can be an important and much needed assistant. If you’re suffering from allergies this season, it’s worth it to explore massage. Massage may allow you to suffer a little less, or require less frequent medication. At the very least, you’ll walk away feeling more relaxed, having your stress hormones lowered, your muscles lengthened and loosened, with an increased level of circulation, and you will likely get a better night’s sleep. Hopefully without a single…grrrrr…sneeze!