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Allergy Relief for a Sneezy Spring Season!

Spring is here! The birds are singing, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom! But unfortunately, for many of us, the latter can be quite unpleasant. Tree pollen can lead to symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, and even flare-ups of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, according to this article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. So, what causes these symptoms, and what can we do to relieve them?

To start with the cause, most seasonal allergies show up when an irritating substance is detected by your immune system. As stated by John Hopkins Medicine, your immune system produces antibodies that attack foreign substances, which protects you in case of a bacterial or viral infection, but not so much in the case of pollen! Specifically, a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced by the body, signaling certain kinds of white blood cells to attack the allergen.

One of these types of white blood cells is the mast cell; when irritating substances like pollen bind to IgE antibodies, mast cells release a familiar chemical you may have heard of - histamine. In turn, histamine changes your body in ways that are easier to keep the allergen out. These changes are usually mild and include a runny nose, itching, and sneezing. (In some cases, an allergic reaction can be severe - this is called anaphylactic shock and is an emergency! Medical help is clearly needed in that situation; this article only concerns mild allergies.)

On the other hand, histamine also causes inflammation - an immune response that can be unhealthy in the long run when repeated. Indeed, the Cleveland Clinic cautions that chronic inflammation is seen in conditions as diverse as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and even heart disease! Of course, this doesn't mean that inflammation causes these conditions - they are all complex and spurred on by multiple factors. Instead, the common denominator is that inflammatory responses can be unhealthy and damaging to your body over time.

So, now that we know that chronic inflammation (potentially including multiple allergy-triggered inflammatory episodes) can be unhealthy, what can we do to improve it? The most obvious answer is by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories (or antihistamines in the case of an allergic reaction). The Cleveland Clinic also recommends taking vitamins and supplements, such as vitamins A, C, and D, and sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, as part of a holistic approach. Lowering your stress by journaling or meditating and making sure to get enough exercise helps as well.

Here at Jade Oasis Wellness, we welcome a holistic, lifestyle-based approach that addresses the root cause of your ailments. Of course, we know that massage therapy can reduce inflammation as well - for instance, a 2020 study by White et al. found that massage therapy relieves muscle inflammation in athletes. But we also recognize that the human body is complex and that no one solution is an easy fix; we recommend asking your doctors and medical team if massage therapy is right for you.

To book a massage, with us, please head to our massage services page or call us at (425) 879-6198.

Remember, while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional!

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