Hay fever can be characterized by the presentation of usually one or more of the following symptoms that can occur either seasonally or all year round:
Sneezing, congested and runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat and an increase in mucous production.
What is actually going on in your body when you’re suffering from hay fever?
Your immune system is overreacting to one or more substances (pollens, dust, moulds and animal dander) that are not usually considered threatening and your body responds with an allergic reaction that is an inflammatory response to the allergen. When you breathe in an airborne allergen your immune system responds by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). When the allergen comes into contact with the mucous membrane lining of your nose it will encounter the specific IgE antibody that has been produce to protect you from the specific allergen. This signals the body to release histamine which initiates an inflammatory response within the respiratory system. Mast cells produce leukotrienes, cytokines and prostaglandins and these affect the nerve cells and muscles cells of the respiratory tissues resulting in itching and narrowing of airways. Little cells called goblet cells will go into overdrive with mucous production, causing a runny nose.
How can a Naturopath help to relieve your hay fever?
Your Naturopath can help you to uncover the reasons as to why your immune system is in an over-reactive state. Areas that may need to be addressed could include:
· Digestive health: the gut constitutes over 70% of your immune system. The state of our gut flora will have a huge impact on how well your immune system is functioning.
· Diet: Are you getting enough nutrients in your diet to support your immune system and reduce inflammation?
· Stress: this will affect our nervous system and too much stress has an inflammatory effect on the body.
· Levels of inflammation within the body
What is earthing and how can this help hay fever?
Earthing or grounding refers to our body connecting with the Earth’s healing energy to reduce inflammation and improve health by promoting energetic balance. In this day and age we are constantly exposed to the electromagnetic fields of devices that we use on a daily basis: computers, mobile phones and IPad to name a few. These fields have an effect on the balance of electrons within the energy of our body. Inflammation is thought to be caused by a lack of electrons, these electrons can act to neutralize the positively charged free radicals that cause oxidative stress. When we connect with the earth’s electromagnetic field with our bare feet we are absorbing the negatively charged electrons that have the ability to neutralize free radicals. Studies have shown that after 40 minutes of walking barefoot on the earth, positive changes can be seen in pulse rate, respiration and blood viscosity. It can also have a balancing effect on the nervous system. Grounding can support the function of the parasympathetic nervous system which works to promote relaxation while reducing the dominance of the sympathetic nervous system which initiates the ‘flight or fight” stress response. Continual stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system leads to an increase in cortisol production by the adrenal glands, this will increase inflammation in our body. If inflammation and increased stress contribute to the development of hay fever, earthing could be a wonderful way to support your immune system.
How to give earthing a go?
It’s simple…..remove your shoes and walk barefoot on the grass or perhaps along a sandy beach. Breathe deeply and feel your body connect to the earth and the healing power of mother-nature.
Emma Tippett is a naturopath at Empowered Health who has a special interest in treating digestive disorders, hay-fever and sinusitis and related conditions. Emma believes that finding and maintaining optimal health is the key focus when helping you return to optimal health. To book an appointment with Emma, book a free 10 min phone briefing or call 1300 21 44 25 to book an appointment.
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