What is Rhinitis?

Rhinitis is one of the most common respiratory conditions that can be suffered by basically people all over the world. It can either be a seasonal or recurrent condition with symptoms and signs that may include discomfort of the ala nasi, pharynx, and conjunctiva, sneezing, watery nasal discharge and nasal congestion. The causes of rhinitis may include extreme sensitivity of the nasal mucosa to certain foods, fumes, saliva, animal dander, fungal spores, dust mites, and pollen.

What is Hay fever?

Rhinitis caused by seasonal changes (seasonal rhinitis) is often termed as hay fever. Seasonal rhinitis is an extreme reaction to pollens and grasses that manifest a restricted seasonal dispersion. Seasonal rhinitis may show no symptoms during the times the condition is not easily triggered. Its main symptoms include itchy, sensitive eyes, extreme watery nasal discharge and sneezing.

Perennial rhinitis, on the other hand, can occur 24/7 or all throughout the year.  It is an extreme reaction to certain fumes, cold air, fungal spores, dust and animal dander. Symptoms and signs can recur or be intermittent in nature. Typical the symptoms and signs are less pronounced, and may involve minor itch, congestion or discomfort of the eyes and nose, with episodic aggravations.

Rhinitis according to Chinese medicine

Rhinitis is Wei qi deficiency based on Chinese medicine theory.  Wei qi works just underneath the dermis and is a type of defense system of the body.  Its foundation comes from kidney yang and is conveyed up to the surface (the surface is the mucus membranes of the throat and nose) by the lungs.  In instances where wei qi is weak, enhanced sensitivity to inhaled substances occurs since the wei qi cannot repulse a pathogenic invasion.

Rhinitis manifests itself uniquely in each person even if the condition seems to look all similar in different people. The weakness in a person’s organ could change the presentation, length and symptomology of the person.  People with rhinitis could have less nasal discharge than congestion, or their condition could have had a late onset, meaning they easily get rhinitis when they are adults.

How does a Chinese medicine practitioner treat hay fever?

A Chinese medicine practitioner/doctor treats rhinitis step by step. The primary step is to endeavor controlling the acute phase of the condition.  Next, he/she will observe the root underlying cause and resolve it. This treatment phase can differ significantly in length of time and may involve the use of herbal prescriptions and acupuncture combined with lifestyle and food recommendations. While several individuals may get well within two or three months, some people may show some improvement only after 4 months.  If you are seriously considering getting Chinese medical therapy, then you need to know this.  After all, if you have seasonal hay fever, then getting treatment before the anticipated time of year can greatly lessen the severity of the symptoms when the season of rhinitis commences. Acting ahead of time can even mean not suffering from any symptoms at all.

Amy-Sui Qun Lui is a board certified and licensed acupuncturist in Cleveland, OH and the founder of Asian Health Center.