Allergy season is here and by many accounts it's a doozy. Runny nose, sinus congestion. itchy eyes, it's all here.
Here are a few suggestions to try and get some relief.
Try the Nose or Sinus Clearing Dao Yin found in the handouts section. Tom Bisio of New York Internal Arts LLC writes the following:
"The nose is the opening to the lung, so to some degree any sinus problems have to do with imbalances in the lung and its paired organ, the large intestine. Nose Dao Yin can be done several times a day, and combines well with other Dao Yin methods like Comprehensive Daily Dao Yin and Spirit Calming Dao Yin.
Nose Dao Yin effectively treats many sinus problems like:
For seasonal allergies, I suggest combining Nose Dao Yin with Seasonal Qi Gong practices [see the Summer Dao Yin practice in the video section] and Qi Gong exercises that activate and strengthen Lung Qi." Practice along with the "Immuni Qi" Qigong Routine for Lungs and Immune System" video.
Massaging certain Acupressure points might help. There are several indicated in my handout entitled "Points for Sinus and Hay Fever" as well as in an article by Herbal Shop called Acupressure Points for Relieving Asthma and Breathing Difficulties, which can be accessed from my "Links" tab.
Drinking Green Tea or certain herbal teas may help. Sencha Tea Bar suggests the following:
Peppermint tea offers a tingling, refreshing flavor that may help to gently open up clogged sinuses. This tea contains a powerful ingredient known as menthol, which offers anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce the swelling of blood vessels in your nose that cause congestion (1). Lab studies also show that peppermint leaves contain ingredients that help to fight off bacteria that may cause you to get sick in the first place (2).
Ginger root tea is a mildly spicy beverage that may help to reduce congestion by reducing inflammation and relaxing muscles in the nasal passages. This tea is also widely known as a natural remedy for treating nausea and upset stomach. Research shows that ginger may help to improve breathing, especially in people who suffer from asthma, by relaxing smooth muscle (3).
Additional research shows that ginger is an effective treatment for sore throat and nasal passage congestion and may shorten the severity and duration of a cold (4). Add a few pieces of thinly sliced ginger to a cup of boiling water. Add a dash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and honey for the best results.
Chamomile tea may not directly ease congestion, but research shows that this floral tea can help to boost mood and improve relaxation — something you need when fighting off a cold or flu. In fact, research shows that chamomile works directly on GABA receptors in the nervous system to naturally increase relaxation and reduce stress (5). Drinking this tea while suffering from congestion may offer a soothing, calm feeling so you can focus on your recovery. Best of all, this tea offers a delightful crisp green apple flavor that is suitable for most palates.
During flu season, green tea can be your best friend. This true tea is packed with antioxidants including catechins, polyphenols, and flavonoids that offer a wide range of health benefits. Research shows that regular consumption of green tea may help to decrease the risk of high blood pressure, boost brain function, and accelerate weight loss (6)(7)(8).
This tea may also help to reduce symptoms of a stuffy nose by decreasing inflammation and swelling that causes your nasal passages to feel blocked. Pour yourself a cup of this hot tea and try to inhale the aroma and warm mist to loosen nasal congestion. Drinking tea may also help to treat other cold symptoms such as sore throat and chest congestion. Best of all, it's a delicious way to stay hydrated, which is an important part of the immune response when fighting a cold or flu.
Research published in ISRN Allergy found that an herbal supplement containing nettle and elderberry was effective at reducing symptoms of allergic rhinitis including nasal congestion. Researchers found that the herbs worked as natural decongestants and also featured antimicrobial properties that help the immune system fight off infection (9) (10).
To make this tea, you can use fresh or dried nettle leaves or simply place a nettle tea bag in hot water. Add a dash of cayenne pepper or black pepper to add a spicy touch that can further reduce nasal congestion.
Turmeric is a beloved spice featuring a bright yellow hue and boasting a wide range of potential health benefits. Research published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found that curcumin — the main ingredient in turmeric — boasted anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that alleviated nasal symptoms including sneezing and sinus congestion in people who suffer from allergies (11).
Eucalyptus tea boasts a strong aroma that may help to alleviate nasal congestion thanks to a powerful ingredient called 1,8-cineole. Studies show that inhaling eucalyptus oil or the scent of eucalyptus tea may help to reduce congestion thanks to anti-inflammatory properties (12). The herb works as a mild expectorant that can help clear phlegm that causes chest congestion. Brew the tea leaves in warm water and make sure to inhale the aroma while enjoying your cup of tea for the best benefits.
Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root tea may help to ease congestion and offers a bold flavor that coffee-drinkers will love. Small studies show that licorice root tea boasts antiviral and antimicrobial properties that can support the immune system and fend off bacteria that cause congestion (13). Since it has an acquired taste, new tea drinkers should add a dash of raw honey or a slice of lemon to balance out the flavor."
Lee Holden recommends Healing Sounds and Meditation in his blog "Guided Sound Healing Meditation for Allergy and Congestion Relief". In it he suggests the following:
"Sit or stand in a comfortable and relaxed position. Make sure you’re positioned upright with your shoulders slightly back so your lungs have room to expand as you breathe.
Once you’re comfortable, start to take slow, deep breaths. If you can, try to breathe through your nose as much as possible while your tongue rests on the roof of your mouth. If your nose is congested, it’s okay to breathe through your mouth also.
As you take deep breaths, notice what’s happening in your sinuses. If you’re feeling congested, try to pay attention to the physical sensations associated with that feeling.
Continue to breathe for a minute or two as your mind becomes more focused on your experience of breathing.
When you’re ready, take a deep inhale and then exhale slowly with your tongue still on the roof of your mouth. As you exhale, make an “Nnnn” sound as if you’re humming. You should experience a subtle vibration feeling on the roof of your mouth and in your nose.
Once you’re making the “Nnn” sound, try to move your tongue back and forth along the roof of your mouth to create changes in the vibration feeling. Think of this as an exploration of sound and vibration as you experiment with different tongue positions.
Some tongue positions will create vibrations in one part of your mouth, while others will create vibrations in others. Try to find the position that focuses the vibration on the nasal cavity where you’re experiencing congestion. For some people, this will happen when the tongue is on the roof of the mouth touching the back of your teeth.
When you’ve reached the bottom of your exhale as you’re making the “Nnnn” sound, inhale slowly through your nostrils and notice if your breathing feels any different.
Do at least three to six sets of the “Nnnn” sound. Of course, you can do a lot more if you’d like.
When you’re done with the “Nnn” sound, return to slow deep breathing through your nose. This time, imagine white light moving through your sinuses and nostrils as you breathe. With each breath, visualize the white light cleansing and clearing any stagnant energy still present in your sinuses.
After a couple of minutes, relax your focus and return to your day."
You can also view his YouTube video describing the method.
Eating spicy foods can help open up the nasal passages.
You can also wear a face mask when venturing outdoors. Given the current pandemic you won't even look out of place.
I hope something in this list helps you find relief so that you can enjoy being outdoors.