Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help hayfever and sinusitis

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine May Help Hayfever and Sinusitis

Are you suffering from hayfever and sinusitis?  Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine may be able to help you

Runny nose, congested and hard to breathe, sneezing, sinus headaches?

Struggling to focus through a fog of mucus?

Miserable and exhausted by it all?

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help hayfever and sinusitis

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help hayfever and sinusitis

If this is you then you are not alone. In fact 1 in 5 Australians suffer from allergic rhinitis or hayfever.

While not life-threatening, it can significantly impact your quality of life and ability to enjoy being outdoors or work effectively.

Conventional treatment consists of managing symptoms with antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, eye drops and avoiding exposure to any known environmental irritants. While this is enough for some people, others look for different options.

Good news – Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may be helpful for hayfever and sinusitis!

Janet* sought help with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine at the Wholistic Medical Centre. She had suffered from chronic hayfever and sinus congestion for over 20 years. She would wake up sneezing every morning and then suffer from nasal congestion, itchy eyes and a constant stream of mucus all day long from her nose and draining down the back of her throat. She was never far away from a tissue and had to breathe through her mouth a lot of the time. She relied on nasal sprays and antihistamines twice each day but they gave her only a minimal amount of relief.

Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis, can be triggered by irritants such as pollens and grasses. Unfortunately for Janet, she was allergic to many different airborne irritants including dust, pollens, grasses and animal dander. Thus she experienced her symptoms all year round. She felt run down and exhausted by constant sinus congestion causing headaches, blowing her nose and trying to manage the mucus and inflammation in her upper airways with medication that made her feel even worse.

Risk factors for hayfever and allergic rhinitis

It is well known that allergic diseases are influenced by genetic predisposition and environmental exposure.

Several members of Janet’s family had hayfever or asthma, making her a likely candidate for this condition. She grew up on a farm so had ample exposure to airborne irritants as a child but only developed hayfever in her 20’s.

While Janet felt that she couldn’t alter these genetic factors and her predisposition to hayfever, she found that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine could certainly help with these predispositions and thus influence how strongly she reacted. Studies have shown that acupuncture is a safe and effective option for managing symptoms of hayfever and improving quality of life (1, 2).

How does Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine help hayfever and sinusitis?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a holistic form of medicine which looks at the whole picture. After careful consultation with Janet about her hayfever and sinus symptoms, her health history, diet and lifestyle she began a course of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines (3). These were individually formulated for her.  She was advised to use a saline nasal rinse rather than a medicated spray to help soothe the inflamed membranes in her airways.

This acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine protocol was designed to reduce the inflammation, drain the accumulation of mucus in her airways and regulate her immune system which was over-reacting to so many environmental factors.

Within a week she was experiencing significant relief – much less mucus and congestion, and she was able to breathe through her nose some of the time. Within a few more weeks she had stopped taking her daily antihistamines, had much more energy and was starting to enjoy her sense of smell again for the first time in many years!

Janet continued to treat her hayfever and sinusitis with acupuncture and Chinese herbs for a couple of months. The dose of her Chinese herbs was gradually reduced as her symptoms continued to improve and her body became less reactive and more resilient to the environmental factors that had irritated her airways for so long. She has maintenance acupuncture treatments once a month and has been mostly symptom free for the last 6 months, enjoying breathing freely in all seasons.

Tanya Newton – Chinese Herbal MedicineAcupuncture, Wholistic Medical Centre

This is an individual case study for educational purposes. Results obtained by one person does not mean the same  can be expected by another. Each person has different life experiences and circumstances which will influence responses.

  1.  Xue, C.C. et. Al. Oct 2015. Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial: Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Volume 115, Issue 4, , Pages 317–324. http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206%2815%2900342-7/abstract. Concluded that acupuncture treatment is a safe and effective option for clinical management of SAR in the Melbourne area for patients’ symptom relief and QoL improvement.
  2. Brinkhaus B. et al. 2004. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. Allergy Sep; 59(9):953-60 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15291903. Concluded that  results of this study suggest that traditional Chinese therapy may be an efficacious and safe treatment option for patients with seasonal AR.
  3. Hauswald B., and Yarin Y. 2014. Acupuncture in Allergic Rhinitis, A mini review. Allergo J Int. 2014; 23(4): 115–119 Concluded that the efficacy of acupuncture in allergic rhinitis and other allergic diseases, such as asthma or allergic eczema, appears to be due to the cytokine profile regulation of Th1/Th2 cells and particularly in the expression of IL-10, IL-2 and IFN-γ. However, further studies are necessary in order to confirm this hypothesis. The effects of acupuncture have already been demonstrated in several clinical studies. For conclusive proof, at present large multicenter, controlled studies are under way to evaluate the role of acupuncture as complementary therapy of allergic rhinitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479426/
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Recurrent colds and flu? Traditional Chinese Medicine may be able to support you back to wellness and back to work.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

 

 

 

 

 

 

For over a thousand years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture have been helping people with all sorts of health problems. Here is one example – a very compromised immune system.

37 year-old Bianca* came to the Wholistic Medical Centre in Surry Hills because she had been suffering from recurrent colds and chest infections for the last 3 years. It started after a severe bout of pneumonia which lasted two months. She would be off work and in bed for weeks at a time, many times each year. She had little resistance and was catching everything that was going around. Head colds would become chest infections with lingering coughs and she had to resort to multiple courses of antibiotics over the last few years.

And then there was the fatigue!

A thorough case history revealed that during her teens, Bianca had a virus which was followed by two years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Then a second episode of CFS in her early 20’s which lasted 4 months. Along with the fatigue, she had sore muscles, pains in her hips, insomnia and often felt dizzy.

For 5 weeks before coming in to the Wholistic Medical Centre to try some treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bianca had been sick with yet another chest infection. She was now extremely exhausted, a bit breathless when she tried to do anything, her chest ached, she had a post nasal drip and a cough producing some coloured thick phlegm. She was sleeping for over 10 hours each night but was constantly tired and had been unable to work her normal work hours.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine approach is to look at all aspects of health holistically, including current symptoms, diet, lifestyle, the appearance of the tongue and the feel of the pulses, along with pathology testing when indicated. Bianca’s iron levels and thyroid function were normal and eliminated as contributing factors. A treatment plan was devised according to TCM principles, in this instance, to clear the current infection and resolve her cough and then strengthen her lungs and immune system and build up her energy and reserves.

A course of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines were given over a period of several months. After this, her treatment was altered to focus on strengthening her compromised immune system with some backup herbs to use at the first sign of a cold or flu virus.

Just one week into treatment, her cough had almost stopped, her energy was improving and she was feeling stronger. She was able to work 2 full days at her job and was only needing about 8 hours sleep at night. Within 3 weeks she was back to her full-time work hours and was able to successfully fight off the early signs of another infection, something she had previously not been able to do.

After continuing treatment for another couple of months her immunity improved. She was given a different preparation to take at the first signs of any infection or if she had been in contact with sick people. Within a couple of months she was back to her normal energy and health, she was active bike riding on the weekends and able to resist the cold and flu viruses that others were coming down with at work.

*Name has been changed

This is an individual case study for educational purposes. Results obtained by one person does not mean the same  can be expected by another. Each person has different life experiences and circumstances which will influence responses.

Tanya Majzoub Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Wholistic Medical Centre

  1. Jiang LDeng LWu T. 2013 Chinese medicinal herbs for influenza. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.  Mar 28;(3):CD004559. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23543533   This systematic review found that most Chinese medical herbs in the included studies showed similar effects to antiviral drugs in preventing or treating influenza. Few were shown to be superior to antiviral drugs. No obvious adverse events were reported in the included studies.
  2. Xiao Yang Hu et al. 2017 Andrographis paniculata (Chuān Xīn Lián) for symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One.; 12(8): e0181780. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544222/
Fibroids

Fibroids with heavy menstrual periods and low energy: Chinese medicine may be helpful

 

chinese herbs for fibroids

Heavy menstrual periods are a frustration for many women.

Yet for some, heavy periods are caused by fibroids in the uterus and can lead to negative health effects, such as low iron levels and depleted energy.

Rebecca*, a 41-year-old woman, visited the Wholistic Medical Centre suffering from fatigue and heavy menstrual periods. An ultrasound 12 months ago found that she had two fibroids in her uterus of around 6cm in size; and a more recent ultrasound scan showed that they had now grown to around 10cm.

Rebecca’s cycle was of normal length and duration, but for the first two days of her period, her menstrual flow was extremely heavy, with big clots and some pain. The blood flow was particularly heavy whenever she moved, which meant that her work and lifestyle were severely restricted for several days each month. She also needed to sleep with a towel underneath her as well as using both pads and tampons to manage the heavy bleeding.

After each period she felt exhausted. Tests revealed that Rebecca’s heavy blood loss each month was causing low iron levels and as such, low energy.

So what are fibroids?

Fibroids (also called myomas) are benign (non-cancerous) growths within the muscle tissue of the uterus and they can grow to the size of a melon or a 6-7 month pregnancy. They are relatively common; 20-50% of women of childbearing age have them. Many women with fibroids have no symptoms, whilst others experience heavy bleeding, prolonged periods, pelvic pressure or pain, pain during intercourse, pressure on the bladder causing difficult or frequent urination, pressure on the bowel causing constipation and/or bloating, and/or an enlarged abdomen.

Fibroids are not usually harmful, but because they can increase the surface area of the uterine lining, they may cause very heavy periods as the lining is shed each month, which can then lead to anaemia and low energy levels.

Mainstream medicine offers several treatment options including surgery to remove the fibroids, hysterectomy to remove the uterus and the fibroids, blocking the blood flow to the fibroids or hormone treatments. Rebecca had previously had three fibroids surgically removed 6 years ago, but they had returned within 6 months of the surgery and were continuing to grow.

This time she wanted to see if Chinese medicine could help with her symptoms of heavy bleeding and fatigue.

Traditional Chinese medicine may be helpful in treating fibroids. (1) (2)

Rebecca was given two different Chinese herbal formulas along with an iron supplement, specifically designed to suit her symptoms and presentation. She used the first formula during her period to help control the heaviness of her menstrual flow, and she took a second formula during the rest of her cycle to treat the fibroids. Because her periods only lasted for four days, she was able to use the second formula for over three weeks each month.

Within a few months of taking Chinese medicine for fibroids, Rebecca’s periods were much lighter, her energy had improved and she was feeling much better overall. After four months of treatment, a follow-up ultrasound scan showed that her fibroids had reduced in size.

Once a woman reaches menopause, the symptoms of fibroids and their associated side effects (like anaemia) will stop. The cycle of hormones stimulating the uterine lining to grow and shed will cease and fibroids will often shrink with the reduced hormonal activity.

Yet for younger women, it can mean years of suffering from fibroid-related symptoms.

Traditional Chinese medicine may be helpful in offering some women an for treating the symptoms of their fibroids.

*Name has been changed

This is an individual case study for educational purposes. Results obtained by one person does not mean the same  can be expected by another. Each person has different life experiences and circumstances which will influence responses.

Tanya Newton Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Wholistic Medical Centre

  1.  Shen Q., et al. 2016  The Effects of Guizhi Fuling Capsule Drug Serum on Uterine Leiomyoma Cells and its Mechanism. Evid. Based Complement Alternate Med. 2016: 2393640.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5118522/   This study found that GZFLC drug serum inhibited the proliferation and induced apoptosis of uterine leiomyoma cells, which might be regulated by 14-3-3γ signal transduction pathway. These results may support further evaluation of a new thread for effective treatment on uterine leiomyoma clinically.
  2. Chen N., et al. 2014 Chinese Herbal Medicine Guizhi Fuling Formula for treatment of uterine fibroids: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. BMC Complement Altern Med. Jan 2;14:2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24383676   This study assessed the efficacy and safety of Guizhi Fuling Formula for the treatment of uterine fibroids, finding that it appears to have additional benefit based on mifepristone treatment in reducing volume of fibroids.  No serious adverse events were reported. However, due to high risk of bias of the trials, we could not draw confirmative conclusions on its benefit.