The season of Spring invites us to celebrate the beauty of nature. For many, it also invites us to make a trip to the drug store to grab an antihistamine allergy medication.
Although a hillside of blooming wildflowers is deeply inspiring to look at, the magic of Spring is not without its challenges. The rich creativity of the natural world can touch many parts of our being in powerful ways—our heart, our spirit, and… our nasal passages.
As Qi Gong practitioners, we’re constantly seeking to explore new ways to apply Qi Gong principles to address everyday ailments. This post will discuss Springtime allergies from a Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong perspective, as well as share three effective techniques to relieve allergy symptoms when they arise.
The Energy of Allergies
What is an allergic reaction?
According to western medical Doctors, an allergic reaction is the body’s response to a perceived threat. In other words, when you get a runny nose and start to cough after walking through a field of flowers, your body is thinking that it is in danger and is doing its best to keep you safe.
Put simply, an allergic reaction is an “over” reaction. Like an angry child screaming about a broken toy, the human body can sometimes lose perspective and believe that things are much worse than they really are. In extreme cases, an allergic reaction can be fatal for certain people.
Today, we’re focusing on addressing allergies, but the dynamics of allergies are actually similar to what we often discuss in regard to emotions and thoughts. Most anger and negative thinking is a reaction to life circumstances rather than the circumstances themselves. In one of our previous posts, we explored how to use the principles of Qi Gong to respond rather than react to life.
Most Spring allergies are related to pollen, which are small grains that plants release into the air in order to spread their seed and fertilize other plants. If you see past your allergy frustrations for a moment, it’s easy to appreciate how miraculous this process really is. For a period of time each year, millions of plants all release their unique energies into the air so they can blend with one another in order to create the next generation of flora in Earth’s rich soil. Pollen is like musical notes conducted by the wind to create the incomprehensible beauty of nature’s great orchestra.
Unfortunately, the nasal passages of humans can’t always appreciate what’s really happening.
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, we seek to work with the body’s natural energy in order to find harmony with both the inner and outer world. When it comes to finding harmony with allergens, there are a few acupressure points and breathing exercises that can help.
Below, we’ll share two acupressure points and one breathing exercise to help you with Spring allergy symptoms.
Acupressure points are special points along the body’s meridian pathway designed to clear stagnant Qi and activate healing energy throughout the body. Similarly, breathing exercises are a great way to purge old energy and create a fluid flow of vital Qi throughout all parts of who you are.
Two Acupressure Points and One Breathing Practice for Allergy Relief
Large Intestine 4
Large Intestine 4 is located in the webbing between the first finger and thumb. Due to its positioning, this acupressure point is also called “He Gu” in Chinese, which means “converging valley.”
Large Intestine 4 is one of the most important acupressure points in Chinese Medicine and can be used for a variety of conditions relating to digestion, immunity, emotional stability, pain, headaches, and allergies.
It is also known as the command point for the face, mouth, and nose. This means that it’s a great point to use for runny noses and coughs.
To activate the Large Intestine 4, simply rub it gently with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand. Make sure to give it a firm squeeze without causing pain. As you work this acupressure point, try to take some slow, deep breaths and pay attention to the sensations in your head. After a minute or two, switch sides and do the same thing to the opposite hand.
Because the Large Intestine 4 clears energy in your head, it can help with letting go of congestion, tension, and even stressful thoughts.
Large Intestine 20
Large Intestine 20 is the last point along the Large Intestine meridian and is located directly next to the nostrils, a position which is also referred to as the nasolabial sulcus. Pressing this point for thirty to sixty seconds can help with increasing circulation and removing blockages in the sinuses.
To locate Large Intestine 20, run your index fingers down along the edges of your nose until they meet the point at which they are directly parallel with your nostrils. Press lightly as you take a few breaths.
It’s important to not press too hard as this point can be sensitive. As you press your index fingers into Large Intestine 20, apply very little pressure and increase it slightly based on what feels comfortable.
Slow Deep Breathing
In addition to using acupressure points to clear stagnant energy, breathing exercises can be another great way to open the sinuses when Spring allergies creep up.
For this specific breathing practice, start by finding a comfortable position and then take slow, deep breaths through your nose. Inhale through your nose, and then exhale through your nose. Try to focus your attention on your breath and be aware of the sensations you’re feeling. Do this for two to three minutes before moving on to the following exercise.
After a couple of minutes, exhale and then hold your breath out at the bottom of your exhale for about ten seconds.
After ten seconds, allow yourself to inhale. Resume with slow, deep breathing for about sixty seconds.
After sixty seconds, exhale all your breath and hold your breath again for ten to fifteen seconds. Then, inhale again and resume with slow, deep breathing.
Do this routine four to six times in a row—sixty seconds of slow, deep breathing followed by ten to fifteen seconds of holding your breath at the bottom of your exhale. On your last exhale, try to hold your breath as long as you can comfortably. When you’re done, return to breathing normally and pay attention to differences you feel in your congestion and breathing.
If you enjoyed this brief exercise and want to learn more practices for self-care, be sure to check out the Free Two-Week Trial of our Video Class Subscription.
Qi Gong Video Classes Two-Week Trial
Cultivating a regular and consistent Qi Gong practice can be difficult to do alone. That’s why at Holden QiGong we offer several classes each week that students can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes.
Our live video classes provide members with the opportunity to learn a vast variety of Qi Gong exercises and meditations taught by Lee. Since many of these classes are offered LIVE, Lee is able to include timely lessons that correspond with the current season and energies of the natural world. Additionally, our subscription membership includes access to a thriving community of like-minded practitioners from around the world.
Try the Free Two-Week trial of our online video classes. Click on the link below to learn more and register!