Allergies: misguided immune system
Between 20 and 25% of the Swiss population suffer occasionally or regularly to allergic symptoms: increasing tendency! The word allergy mean "hypersensitivity". In Western medicine, it means an exaggerated response of the immune system to harmless foreign substances. Often an allergy already developed in childhood. Children of parents who suffer from allergies themselves are particularly at risk. The immune system protects humans normally against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. On harmless substances such as food, pollen or dust, the immune system is not particularly responsive. This is different for allergic patients. Their immune system responds to harmless substances with inflammation. The immune system responds most to proteins with an allergy. Such proteins can be found, for example, in pollen, foods and house dust.
A holey shield
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes in allergies a weakened immune system. The defense system (called Wei Qi) is produced in the lungs and circulates as a shield just below the body surface. A lack of lung power (lung qi deficiency) weakens the Wei Qi. Often, the cause of a lung qi deficiency is a spleen qi deficiency. The spleen extracts the energy (Qi) from food and distributes it in the body. Is there a lack of energy, it also lacks of defense. Typical symptoms of lung qi deficiency are coughing, shortness of breath, sweating during the day, cold inclination and a feeble voice. A weak lung qi makes the body susceptible to pathogenic factors such as wind-heat or wind-cold, which show up as stuffy or runny nose. The treatment options for allergies in TCM are as varied as the allergies themselves. Basically you use acupuncture, ear acupuncture, nutritional counseling (Dietetics) and Chinese medicinal herbs. Depending on the allergy (hay fever, dermatitis, etc.) one or more therapy methods are used. The goal of the therapy is to reduce the susceptibility to allergies.