Why Asthma Bronchial Challenges are More Frequent in the Fall & Winter

Why are Asthma Bronchial Challenges More Frequent in the Fall & Winter? 
by Kristina Shaw,  NAET Allergy Acupuncture Specialist                                                              

Asthma Bronchial challengesAsthma bronchial challenges have a higher frequency of occurrence in the fall and winter when the Chinese medicine metal and water elements govern these seasonal conditions.

In the Five Element Chinese medicine systems, the autumn months are governed by the lungs and large intestine functions. So if an individual has a constitutional deficiency in the lungs or digestive tract, there can be more acute asthma flare ups or aggravation with allergic asthma, chronic bronchitis  or emphysema challenges.

Grief, sadness or melancholy feelings can play into asthma respiratory health challenges, as can constipation and skin problems being more pronounced in the fall. The water element of winter governs the kidneys, adrenals and bladder energetic system & organs.

The primary meridian circulating time for the lungs is from 3 to 5 in the morning, which is when some folks are more vulnerable to coughing spells. If there is sluggishness or weakness in the lung’s life force, it’s more challenging for the lungs to clean its house of lingering mucus. Some people experience dryness in the lungs and have a low grade dry cough that can go on for months. Some naturopathic schools correlate adrenal deficiency with a persistent dry cough that can persist for months.

In Chinese medicine physiology, there’s an intimate relationship between the energetics of the lungs and the kidneys. Western physiology correlates an interdependent relationship between the kidneys and the heart, but has a blind spot to the oxygen carrying life force between the lungs and kidneys. Each inhalation brings the prana life force of the breathe into the bronchials & alveoli of the lungs.

The missing energetic piece in traditional medical thinking is that this oxygenated life force of the lungs sends its prana or chi energy down to the kidneys to get recharged on the inhalation. With each exhale, the kidneys charges the energetic chi of the breath & then sends that recharged energy back to the lungs to be expelled out.

Because of this close interdependency between the lungs & kidneys, if there is a deficiency or excess stress on either of these organ systems, the other is tangibly influenced. The winter season is when bronchial challenges can be at their worst.

In Chinese Medicine physiology, the winter’s cold hibernating months are governed by the kidneys, adrenals & bladder function (known as the Water Element). When strengthening the lungs, the partnership of the lungs and kidneys must be boosted in this dynamic interplay. There are various Chinese & American herbal formulas that fortify the vitality & reliance of these powerful energetic organ systems.

The Taoist that created the Five Element System observed that the fall season followed similar patterns to nature with its harvesting process and dying off of the crops & foliage shedding.  So the metal element of the fall characteristically has growth patterns of taking in of what is essential to life and then a letting go of what is not needed in one’s life.  This taking in and letting go is reflected on all levels of human existence,  mentally, emotionally and spiritually and  is played out in the lung and large intestine functions & pathology.

The metal element and its influence on the lungs & large intestine are at its core level about change & transformation.  When one is rigid with this process, especially as we get older, there is more stuckness in grief, judgementalness and self worth issues that arise.  All of these themes play into the mental or emotional aspects of respiratory health challenges.  A seasoned acupuncturist pays attention to all of these relational dynamics when working with each person’s individual respiratory condition.

 

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Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal Allergies: Breathing Freer and Staying Healthy
through the Pollen Season

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 nose pollen seasonal allergies Kris Shaw“My seasonal allergies are driving me crazy!!!  Is there anything I can do?” is an all too common frustration that I hear in the spring & summer.  Actually there are many things you can do to breathe more freely and have some quality of life during the hay days of pollen production.  Are you ready for some healthier alternatives to allergy medications taken daily, to suppress your unmanageable allergic histamine responses?

Many of us take for granted that we can comfortably breathe year round but for others, the welcoming warmth of spring’s sunshine stimulates a full orchestra of pollens stepping up their dissemination everywhere, wreaking havoc on those who are allergic to specific pollens.  Some conifers, alder wood, & birch pollens are some of the worst offenders in the spring, with grass pollens following in June and ragweed in the late summer.

What really works when you are in crisis mode with an allergy flare up?  I will provide you with some tangible answers to that throughout this article.  Let’s look first at what causes so much inflammatory responses.  When you are exposed to allergens such as dust, mold, specific pollens, animal dander & even certain foods, your immune system kicks into action.

Histamine is:

  • responsible for many allergic responses in your body /mind
  • Are liberally distributed within your lungs, sinuses, brain, and digestive tract.

As an allergy acupuncturist there are practical strategies that can help your body responds healthfully to allergens.  Read on to discover   simple & deeper rooted solutions to spring, summer, & fall pollens.

Reduce Your Exposure:

spring sneezing girl Seasonal allergies Kris ShawYou may want to limit your exposure outdoors when pollen counts are highest.  These times are early mornings & evenings or on sunny warm days.

NAET Allergy Desensitizing:

This healing modality addresses the underlying core issues, reprogramming the body/mind that has mis-interupted dust, pollen, and common foods to be an intruder to the body’s defense systems.  Allergy desensitizing treatments resets programs in the mind, re-acclimating long standing allergens to become friend, not foe; in other words to reclaim them as normal substances in the body.

girl-sneeze_In the case of pollen reactivity, local pollens are collected on a wet towel.  Each patient is tested & treated with these samples, given customized desensitizing treatments to pollen, grasses, and weeds that they breathe and are exposed to locally.  This energetic form of medicine is revolutionary in its approach, providing long lasting results for allergy prevention care for over 30 years now.

Reduce histamine reactions in your body:

Bioflavonoids & quercetin are both members of the Vitamin C family and are helpful aides in stabilizing the mast cells, so they don’t flood your tissues with histamine production.  Keep in mind that excess histamines are the troublemakers that make your lungs, nose, & eyes to itch & swell up, creating runny noses.

man-in-grass_If you’re challenged with pollen reactivity, it would be worth your time with being muscle tested, to see if you are absorbing vitamin C efficiently.  In my clinical practice, I’ve observed 90 % of my patients with acute & chronic seasonal allergy reactions to be challenged with vitamin C assimilation, which is essential to healthy immune functionsMore efficient assimilation of Vitamin C is one of the first treatments that I do to seasonal allergy sufferers in aiding the body/ mind to re-acclimatize to foreign proteins, like pollen.

Quercetin & D-Hist: are well researched bioflavonoids that reduce histamine reactions.  To make sizable dents in the overproduction of histamines, quercetin needs to be consumed regularly during the pollen season.  You’ll find several capsulated quercetin products at your local health food stores or Super Supplement on line.  One of the very best of the quercetin herbal products is called D-Hist offered in a capsule form for adults or chewable for children.  It works as an alternative to the drowsy producing antihistamines during the worst of the pollen reactivity.  Unfortunately this great allergy aide cannot be purchased in a health food store but your naturopath or acupuncturist can order it.  The company recommends purchasing the larger 120 capsule bottle for $32, which is enough to get you through a month.  Dosage requires some adjusting for the first 2 weeks to get the overproduction of histamines under control.  Routine dosage is 3 caps 3 times a day for the first 2 weeks and then dropping down to 2-3 caps two times a day.  If you are utilizing this herbal product in a chewable form for children, it is half the strength of the capsule form.  Consult your acupuncturist or naturopath doctor for a customized dosage that’s suitable for you.

“NAC” – commonly known as N-acetylcysteine:

is one of the most potent anti- oxidants in the body.  When taken orally, it has the ability to thin mucus & makes it easier for the body to assimilate it.  NAC is known for reducing airway inflammation in the lungs.

Netti Pot Irrigation or Saline Nasal Sprays:

netti potMany of you are already familiar with daily nasal douching   to gently flush pollens out of your nasal passages.  Flushing with distilled or sterile water (1 cup to ¼ tsp salt) thins out accumulated mucus that otherwise holds onto allergens in the sinuses.  Clogged nasal cavities serve as a breeding ground for respiratory viruses and bacteria.  I recommend adding a small amount of golden seal or echinacea in the sweetened glycerin form rather not the alcohol base.  Both of these herbs have anti- bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Dietary Changes:

family-pizza-food-allergiesAvoid foods that you know you are sensitive to.  During the heavy months of pollen production is when you want to be more cautionary with eating foods that aggravate your immune system as you are putting a double load on your body’s immune system.  Acute sinusitis or asthma flare-ups can coincide when the pollen count is highest tied in when you are consuming foods that you are not digesting well or you may not be aware that you are food sensitive to.  You can be tested by a naturopathic doctor through a blood workup for environmental allergies and food sensitivities.  Common foods that many allergy sensitive individuals can be reactive to are dairy products, sugar, citrus fruit, wheat & gluten grains, soy, MSG, corn  and artificial sweeteners.

Other Potential Helpful Treatments:

Stinging nettle, a common herb found along streams is effective in a freeze dried, tincture or tea form when taken 3-4 times a day.  Nettle has both anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.  It is best to start taking nettle herbs 1-2 months before the pollen count gets high.  Similarly, raw honey that is cultivated by bees from your local area is another remedy to desensitize you to spring, summer & fall pollens.  Consuming bee pollen or honey from the comb is best consumed daily a couple of months before the spring pollens become reactive.

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs Used Together:

81_acupuncture_needle_NAET_treatmentSome Chinese herbs are very effective in addressing the acute symptoms & others work more for  the root cause of chronic sinusitis & allergic responses.  Raw, freeze dried or patent herbs are utilized during the allergy season.  Please consult a licensed acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist to discern what herbal formulas can be tailored to your seasonal allergy challenges.

                                                        

 

 

 

 

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Common and Known Food Allergies

Common and Known Food Allergies

What are food allergies? We as Americans are quite attached to our comfort foods, especially when we’re under a lot of stress. Most of us hold our comfort foods sacred, even when faced with the inconvenient truth with nutritional experts preaching about junk food’s demise on our bodies. It is often these “comfort foods” to which we are most sensitive or allergic. Lets look at common and known food allergies.

The biggest dietary offenders that create food allergies

You most likely can guess what the top 5 foods that are on the food allergy hit parade.
They are foods we Americans consume with unconscious pleasure. Maybe the foods you eat at every meal, because they are easy to put together and are available at most supermarkets.

The top 5 foods known to be causing food allergies:

Milk-allergy- childhood-jpg1) Milk and Dairy Products.
For many people, it is hard to digest the lactose sugars or casein proteins in milk. Ice cream and other frozen desserts are difficult to ban from our diets, until diarrhea and a cantankerous belly, nasty skin conditions or migraines take over our lives. We don’t get the connection between our favorite comfort foods and the ways our bodies let us know this is not agreeable match. We love our creamy flavorful yogurts and cheeses, milk shakes & smoothies, butter, kefir and other milk products. We don’t realize that it’s the casein proteins that are stirring up trouble.

wheat allergy2) Wheat and other Gluten Containing Grains
An article in Oprah Magazine, titled , “Get Gluten Smart,” says that an estimated 18-20 million Americans struggle with wheat and gluten as a food sensitivity that is challenging to medically diagnose with blood work or GI testing. (June 2011)

3) Gluten Sensitivity
Gluten enriched grains include wheat, rye, barley, oats, couscous and triticale. Extreme gluten sensitivity manifests in celiac disease, a type of autoimmune disorder in which the immune system responds to gluten by damaging the small intestines. More common to many Americans in their 40’s & 5o’s is gluten intolerance, a broad term that includes a wide range of sensitivities and subtle symptoms from weakness to fatigue. Gluten sensitivity is so universal these days that special gluten free diets have become quite common.

gluten_sensitivity_wheat_allergyWhat is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. It is the exceptionally sturdy gluten protein in the wheat that wreaks so much havoc in our body’s organs and tissues. A lifetime of regular consumption on a daily basis leaves its toll on our GI tract, for the many that are gluten sensitive. Wheat shows up in our favorite breads, baked goods, cereals and pasta foods (semolina or durham flour), pastry or spelt flours, bran & couscous, to name a few.

56-cheese-bread-wine-allergies-jpgWhat exactly is it about gluten that makes life so troubling for a growing population of children and adults? Gluten is an exceptional sturdy protein that is difficult to digest. The amount of gluten protein that is in wheat has increased by 16 times over the last 40 years, and resultantly, it’s been more challenging for more Americans to digest, when exposed to it every day in some form or another.

Wheat is hidden in many commonly used foods such as salad dressings, cereals & pastas. Wheat and milk are the two most common allergenic foods and they are often eaten together in our American diet, as with milk on cereal, cheese pizza laid out on a wheat crust or macaroni and cheese.

sugar_milk_allergy_kiwi_fruit_dessert4) Sugar and other Sweeteners. Most Americans cultivate a sweet tooth from early childhood. We indulge those cravings when under stress. A little sugar and our bodies can adapt to but larger portions of it throughout the day sets us up for yeast overgrowth and pancreatic challenges as we grow older. Sugar comes in many forms: granulated sugar or sucrose, brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, molasses, high fructose & artificial sweeteners .

The American obsession to stay thin has made us vulnerable to other quick fixes, such as low calorie artificial sweeteners, which many individuals have strong allergic reactions to, similar to the same reactive ingredients of MSG.

corn5) Corn
This has become more widely used by food industries, as it’s cheaper to use than sugar. Corn has found its way into every meal because of its versatility in food processing.

It’s in our breakfast cereals, grits, corn bread, tortillas & tacos, many snack foods, popcorn, corn oil, cornstarch thickeners and sweeteners (high fructose corn sweeteners used in fruit drinks & sodas).

soyproducts6) Soy Products
Soy allergies are more frequently seen with infants who utilize alternatives to breast milk with soy protein formulas. Most of us are familiar with it as stables in oriental or vegetarian diets. Think of soy milk, tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers and TVP.

Soy is readily used by the food industry for various foods: texturizers, emulsifiers and protein fillers. You’ll find it in high protein bars and powders, soy based salad dressings, textured vegetable proteins and lastly in chocolate ingredients (utilizing the soy based lecithin granules).

Other runner ups for common food allergies and allergic reactions

  • Man made chemical foods
  • food additives and colorings
  • artificial sweeteners
  • MSG
  • sulphite preservatives
  • citric acid flavorings.

 

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Seasonal Allergies old

Copy written 2013 by Kris Shaw, Acupuncture Allergy Specialist

Breathing Freer & Staying Healthy through the Pollen Season

“My seasonal allergies are driving me crazy!!! Is there anything I can do?”

seasonal allergies making me miserableis an all too common frustration that I hear in the spring & summer.  Actually there are many things you can do to breathe more freely and have some quality of life during the hay days of pollen production.  Are you ready for some healthier alternatives to allergy medications taken daily, to suppress  your unmanageable seasonal allergies, allergic histamine responses?

Many of us take for granted that we can comfortably breath year round but for others, the welcoming warmth of  spring’s sunshine  stimulates a full orchestra of pollens stepping up  their  dissemination  everywhere, wreaking havoc  on those who are allergic to specific pollens.  Some conifers, alder wood & birch  pollens are some of the worst offenders in the spring, with grass pollens following in June and ragweed in the late summer.

What really works when you are in crisis mode with an allergy flare up? 
I will provide you with some tangible answers to that throughout this article.  Let’s look first at what causes so much inflammatory responses.  When you are exposed to allergens such as dust, mold, specific pollens, animal dander & even certain foods, your immune system kicks into action. 

Histamine is:

  • responsible for many allergic responses in your body /mind
  • are liberally distributed within your lungs, sinuses, brain and digestive tract.
  • are the best known of the inflammatory substance released by the mast cells during an allergic reaction.

As an allergy acupuncturist there are practical strategies that can help your body respond healthfully to allergens.

Reduce Your Exposure: You may want to limit your exposure outdoors when pollen counts are highest. These times  are early mornings & evenings .

Reduce histamine reactions in your body: Bioflavonoids & quercetin are both members of the Vitamin C family and are helpful aides  in stabilizing the mast cells, so they don’t flood your tissues with histamine production. Keep in mind that excess histamines are the troublemakers that make your eyes, nose and lungs to  swell up & produce excess exurdates.                                                                            

If you’re challenged with pollen reactivity, it would be worth your time with being muscle tested, to see if you are absorbing vitamin C efficiently.  In my clinical practice, I’ve observed 90 % of my patients with acute & chronic  seasonal allergy reactions to be challenged with vitamin C assimilation, which is essential to healthy immune functions.  More efficient assimilation  of  Vitamin C is one of the first treatments that I do to aid the body/ mind to re-acclimatize to, when addressing seasonal allergy sufferers.

Quercetin & D-Hist: are  well researched bioflavonoids that reduces histamine reactions. To make sizable dents in the overproduction of histamines, quercetin  needs to be consumed regularly during the pollen season.  You’ll find several capsulated quercetin products at your local health food stores or Super Supplement on line.

One of the very best of the quercetin herbal products is called D-Hist offered in a capsule form for adults or chewable for children.  It works as an alternative to the drowsy producing antihistamines during the worst of the pollen reactivity.  Unfortunately this great allergy aide cannot be purchased in a health food store but your naturopath or acupuncturist can order it thru Ortho Molecular Products located in Illinois or by calling 1-800-476-4664.

The company recommends purchasing the larger 120 capsule bottle for $38, which is enough to get you through  a month.  Dosage requires some adjusting for the first 2 weeks to get the overproduction of histamines under control.  Routine dosage is 3 caps 3 times a day for the first 2 weeks and then dropping down to 2-3 caps two times a day.  If you are utilizing this herbal product in a chewable form for children, it is half the strength of the capsule form.  Consult your naturopath doctor for a customized dosage that’s suitable for you.

Sterol 117 is a plant steroid supplement distributed by BioGenesis from Calgary, Canada.  It’s pricy at $75 a bottle delivered in a capsule form.  Most naturopathic physicians use this as the heavy guns treatment when   histamine reactions are brutal on the respiratory & sinus systems.

NAET, Allergy Desensitizing: This healing modality addresses the underlying core issues, reprogramming the body/mind that has mis-interupted dust, pollen, and common foods to be an intruder to the body’s defense systems.  Allergy desensitizing treatments resets programs in the mind, re-acclimating long standing allergens to become friend, not foe; in other words to reclaim them as normal substances in the body.

In the case of pollen reactivity, local pollens are collected on a wet towel.  Each patient is tested & treated with these samples, given customized desensitizing treatments to pollen, grasses, and weeds that they breathe and are exposed to locally.  This energetic form of medicine is revolutionary in its approach, providing long lasting results for allergy prevention care for over 30 years now.

Dietary Changes: Avoid foods that you know you are sensitive to.  During the heavy months of pollen production is when you want to be more cautionary with eating foods that aggravate your immune system as you are putting a double load on your body’s immune system.  Acute sinusitis or asthma flare-ups can coincide when the pollen count is highest tied in when you are consuming foods that you are not digesting well or you may not be aware that you are food sensitive to.  You can be tested by a naturopathic doctor through a blood workup for environmental allergies and food sensitivities.  Common foods that many allergy sensitive individuals can be reactive to are dairy products, sugar, citrus fruit, wheat & gluten grains, soy, MSG, corn  and artificial sweeteners.

Other Potential Helpful Treatments: Stinging nettle, a common herb found along streams is effective in a freeze dried, tincture or tea form when taken 3-4 times a day.  Nettle has both anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.  It is best to start taking nettle herbs 1-2 months before the pollen count gets high.  Similarly, raw honey that is cultivated by bees from your local area is another remedy to desensitize you to spring, summer & fall pollens.  Consuming bee pollen or honey from the comb is best consumed daily.

Netti Pot Irrigation or Saline Nasal Sprays: Many of you are already familiar with daily nasal douching to gently flush pollens out of your nasal passages.  Flushing with distilled or sterile water (1 cup to ¼ tsp salt) thins out accumulated mucus that otherwise holds onto allergens in the sinuses.  Clogged nasal cavities serve as a breeding ground for respiratory viruses and bacteria.  I recommend adding a small amount of golden seal or echinacea in the sweetened glycerin form rather not the alcohol base.  Both of these herbs have anti- bacterial and anti-viral properties.

“NAC” – commonly known as N-acetylcysteine:  is one of the most potent anti- oxidants in the body.  When taken orally, it has the ability to thin mucus & makes it easier for the body to assimilate it.  NAC is known for reducing airway inflammation in the lungs.

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs Used Together: Some Chinese herbs are very effective in addressing the acute symptoms & others work more for  the root cause of chronic sinusitis & allergic responses.  Raw, freeze dried or patent herbs are utilized during the allergy season.  Please consult a licensed acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist to discern what herbal formulas can be tailored to your seasonal allergy challenges.

Posted in Allergy Relief, Pollen Season, Seasonal Allergies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity Class

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity

wheat allergyMedical doctor David Brownstein estimates that 20-30 of Americans currently are affected by gluten sensitivity.  That’s one in six Americans!  Gluten intolerance has become so universal that special diets have become common place.  At this evening class, wheat, & gluten grains will be fleshed out for both their wonderful comfort food and their follies in an entertaining & empowering PowerPoint.  Both veteran & novice gluten intolerant individuals will gain new skills & resources for making gluten restrictive diet more enjoyable.

Gluten Sensitivity Class Offered

This 2 hour  class will address many of the most common questions that newbies and seasoned gluten restrictive individuals ask when going off of wheat and wondering if they will ever be able to do their favorite comfort food again.  At the Federal Way clinic Kristina Brown, a nutritional coach will be teaming up with Kris Shaw offering much travel, shopping & cooking tips for substituting wheat, and other gluten grains.  To avoid the high cost of gluten free packaged Gluten free flour alternatives will be addressed and how to convert baking recipes.

Commonly asked questions that will be addressed:

  • What is gluten & why is it so difficult to digest?
  •  Why is wheat so addictive?  Why are some people sensitive to gluten and not others?
  • Why is gluten sensitivity & celiac disease NOT being properly diagnosed by most physicians?
  • Why hasn’t my medical doctor checked me out for gluten reactivity as common food sensitivity?  How can you rule out gluten sensitivity if you are suspecting it in yourself?
  • How does gluten affect the brain & moods?
  • Are there healthy options for integrating gluten grains back into my life, if I am gluten sensitive?  Can I eat sprouted forms of wheat?
  • How does allergy desensitizing support & treat gluten intolerance so that you can reintroduce gluten grains slowly back into your diet?
  • For those new to a gluten restrictive diet, learn great tips for making the change over more enjoyable!  How do I start a gluten free diet?                                                                                                                                    
  • Discover informative  shopping & cooking resources if you are gluten sensitive that you may have not known

 

Posted in Allergy Relief, Gluten, Gluten Free, Gluten intollerance, Gluten reactivity, Gluten Sensitivity | Tagged , , | Leave a comment