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Allergies and Asthma

Allergies are among one of the most common medical conditions, affecting approximately one out of every five Americans. Common triggers include various grass and tree pollen, such as ragweed and elm, as well as foods or food groups like milk, nuts, or shellfish, and animal dander. Basically, anything the body does not recognize as “self” can become a potential allergen. Simply put, an allergy is an abnormal immune response to an otherwise harmless substance. The body detects a food or pollen exposure as a foreign invader, which triggers an inflammatory reaction. Symptoms range from the irritating but benign nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes to possible skin rashes and hives, to the potentially fatal inflammation and swelling of upper airways.

Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects nearly 3 percent of Americans. Asthma is closely related in nature to the allergic-type response, as it too is a hyper-inflammatory reaction to an otherwise harmless substance or event. Often, people with asthma also suffer from some form of allergies. In asthma, one’s ability to breathe is greatly affected. Typical symptoms include spasm of the bronchi (or airway tubes), swelling of lining of the lungs, and excessive mucous production. Shortness of breath and wheezing are often experienced. The greatest concern is that if not immediately addressed, an asthmatic attack could lead to respiratory failure.

Mario Roxas, ND, 208/946-0984

A Naturopathic Prospective

Allergies and asthma are both conditions that can benefit from various alternative and complementary therapies. From a naturopathic perspective, one of the key considerations is to lower a person’s allergic threshold. This involves not only identifying the triggers and finding ways to reduce the risk of exposure, but also looking at aspects of an individual’s current lifestyle and health that may make them more prone to allergy reactions. If a person is already in a state of higher stress or inflammation, then they are more susceptible to react to other stressors that come their way. For example, habits such as smoking, and/or excess alcohol intake, lower an individual’s ability to handle the additional stressors that seasonal allergens may place on the body. Additionally, poor diet and nutritional deficiencies can play a very significant role in reducing one’s resistance to allergens. Key nutritional supplementation, like omega 3 fatty acids and bioflavonoids, along with certain diet and lifestyle modifications, can help reduce inflammation and strengthen the body’s resistance to stressors, allowing for better management of allergies. To find out more specific things you can do to manage your allergies and asthma, please call Mario Roxas, ND at 208-946-0984 or email at info@drroxas.com and set up a visit.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, www.align.org, 265.8440

A Rolfer’s Perspective

Respiratory disorders, such as allergies and asthma, can actually alter the body’s physical structure. In the case of respiratory difficulty, restricted breathing can create a misshapen rib cage. If breathing is difficult–or even scary–the body will distort around that stress, adapting by creating fascial adhesions or scar tissue. Not taking full breaths creates the restricted structure reinforcing the experience that breathing is difficult.

So how do we reverse this pattern?

First, you free the chronic structural and soft tissue pattern by releasing the chronic tension held in the body. Rolfing was specifically designed to remove the chronic tension held in the body’s soft tissue and can reestablish the subtleness to allow the rib cage to move more freely.

Twenty years ago, I conducted a study on Rolfing with elite runners at Arizona State University. The biggest improvement they collectively experienced was increased vital capacity (the ability to take in more air). Even the world-class runners—including an Olympic marathon runner—experienced breathing improvements. Chronic allergy and asthma sufferers, after decades of breathing restrictions, usually see considerable improvement with Rolfing.

The other key factor with optimal breathing is to learn not to respond to stress in the old tension-producing manner.

When I had a clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, we operated a Mindfulness Stress Reduction program for hospitals and corporations. In the eight-week course, we often had students who experienced breathing problems. After a few weeks of teaching their mind and body to relax in the face of stress, the respiratory symptoms would decline. The core of the course was learning to feel, and then let what was occurring to occur. When we stop resisting our bodies, we stop tensing. For whatever reason, we learned to hold our breath when stressed; when we just let go and breathe, the stress seems to dissipate. When the tension of stress is gone, we breathe naturally.

Penny Waters, Relaxation Destination, 208/597-4343

Herbs and ReflexologyPerspective, Handling Allergies With the Touch of Reflexology and Herbs

Many of you are probably breathing a sigh of relief now that the days of buds in spring and grasses in summer are turning to cooler days of fall and winter. Gone will be the allergens that cause you such discomfort – itchy and runny eyes, sniffles, sore throat, stuffed up sinuses, aching head and so on. Would you like to be free of this yearly misery? Then let’s use the winter months to prepare for spring in such a way that you do not experience your allergies next year.

Without a doubt, the immune system needs to be cleansed and strengthened in order to fight the myriad of external pollutants and irritants that surround us daily that cause our allergic reactions. I recommend some wonderful herbs for this purpose. Foods that congest our system and cause our immune system to work overtime have to be reduced and eliminated, too. Foods that will be good for you are also recommended and help give you replacements for your usual fare. I also use herbs to boost immunity: Herbs that are high in Vitamin C that help flush the kidneys and detoxify the liver all find a place in an herbal formula. Herbs help curb cravings, too, when we give up some of our comfort foods for the sake of our health.

At the core of this program to control allergic reactions is reflexology. A series of reflexology sessions in the fall and then in late winter before spring will ensure success. The body is stimulated to throw off the congestion and toxic accumulation in your blood, organs, and lymphatic system. This will be strongly supported by your food program. You will be amazed at how deeply you can breathe, how clear your head feels, how alive and mobile you are, and how great it feels to experience true wellness.

Don’t wait until spring. Start now and avoid allergy misery and give yourself a health boost that will last a lifetime.

Robin and Layman Mize, Quantum Biofeedback, Certified Biofeedback Specialists, 208/610-9997.

Biofeedback and Allergies

When we hear the term “allergy testing” we most often think of the traditional medical approach, using a “scratch test” or needles to determine allergy stressors or sensitivities.

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Biofeedback Analysis is a phenomenal, scientific method to detect sensitivities using ones’ own muscle strength and the static electricity present in the body. Even children feel comfortable using this accurate, non-invasive and painless method of analysis!

Biofeedback analysis is based on the idea that there is an energy field which flows around and through all things. The Chinese call this energy Qi or Chi (pronounced “Chee”). Like a magnet creates a magnetic field which holds iron filings in a certain pattern, the Chi creates a field which holds the cells of our body in alignment. Theoretically, by altering the Chi, one can alter the body. In biofeedback analysis we use the body’s energy as a gauge to determine the level of stress intolerance to a given substance.

Krystle Shapiro, BA, LMT, CDT, Touchstone Massage Therapies,

208-290-6760

A Medical Massage Therapy Perspective

I find Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy especially helpful for clearing congestion in the sinuses and chest when my clients complain of stuffy heads, runny noses, and difficulty breathing. The lymph system works overtime during spring and summer when so much environmental toxins are present in our air and water. This specialized massage effectively encourages the lymph system to speed up its removal of accumulated toxins and cellular wastes of all kinds. This may increase a runny nose and/or coughing experience, but these reactions are short lived as the wastes are eliminated leaving the allergy/asthma sufferer feeling more clear headed, less achy, “dryer” and more energetic to get on with normal routines.

Clearing the accumulated debris from the immune system in a timely fashion enables it to continue its normal alert, attack, and manage activities that keep us healthy and vibrant. Manual Lymph Drainage is the perfect complement to your fall/winter health regimen.

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