I assume you have had a wonderful summer. Now it is the time for our news letter 8 – allergy and sinusitis. If you think any of your friends or family members might be interested, feel free to forward this to them. I hope your friends and you will enjoy it.
Jun Xu, M.D and Hong Su Xu, C.M.D.
News Letter, Vol. 1 (8), August, 2009, © Copyright
Jun Xu, M.D. Lic. Acup., Hong Su, C.M.D., Lic. Acup.
Rehabilitation Medicine and Acupuncture Center
1171 East Putnam Avenue, Building 1, 2nd Floor
Greenwich, CT 06878
Tel: (203) 637-7720
Case Discussion: Allergy and Sinusitis
Dan J was a 16-year-old boy who came to me complaining of itchy and pinky eyes, difficulty breathing, headaches, and a runny nose which exuded yellow and green sputum for two weeks. The patient had experienced these symptoms on and off for more than five years and they got worse during the spring and autumn and better in the summer. He was diagnosed with allergies which sometimes developed into sinusitis. He was given Allegra, benadral and other antihistamine medication. At the beginning, this treatment helped, however, after about a week or two the medication stopped working. The patient was also given allergy shot with multiple antigens for more than one year. However, it seems not working too. His symptoms are very often developed to severe sinusitis headache, poor sleep and difficulty in concentration. His physician often has to prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection further development. His mother is very concerned about the frequent usage of antibiotics, therefore today, he is brought to me. He reported he has all the symptoms listed above, with the addition of a minor outbreak of hives on his face and body.
Explanation of Illness
Allergies are an abnormal reaction to an ordinary, harmless substance called allergen. They are many different allergens, such as pollen, dust, fur and mold. When the allergens are absorbed into the body through inspiration or skin contact, people’s immune system will have a chain reaction, and the white blood cells will produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to mast cells which will cause the release of histamine and other potent chemicals. This histamine will cause a spasm of smooth muscle on the respiratory tract, sinus, skin, ear and other body parts and then leading to runny nose, watery eyes, itching, and sneeze. If the sinus is infected with virus and bacteria, sinusitis occur and patients will feel sinus headache and fever.
There are three major sinus: 1. Frontal, 2. Ethnoid and 3. Maxillary sinuses, which are easily infected or irritated with allergens.
There are five types of allergic reactions according to western medicine:
- Seasonal allergic rhinitis.
- Allergic rhinitis.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Contact dermatitis.
- Urtcaria (hives).
Symptoms can be from mild to severe and are usually treated with antihistamines, decongestants, cortisone products (which might produce long ranging side effects), local chain modifiers which will block the effects of inflammatory chemicals and mast cell stabilizers.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes allergies and sinusitis are one disease with two different manifestations and stages. In the first stage, the patient’s immune system is weakened. When the weather changes, antigens, such as dust and mould increase and invade the human body through the skin, mouth and nose, casing symptoms of the lung and the liver. The symptoms of lung show shortness of breath and secretion from the sinus, the nose is the opening for the lung. If there is allergen invasion from outside, and the patient’s body is not strong enough to combat it – especially if the immune system is in a weak state – the weak immune system will make the lung symptoms worse. This is why different people face the same allergen invasion and have different responses. Most people are not allergic to dust, mould and the like. They have no problem with allergens. However, some people suffer from this condition because their immune system is weakened and their body energy is low, especially in the lung. The liver function corresponds to the eye, i.e. the opening outlet of liver is eye. Therefore, if the lever function is low and weak, the eye symptoms such as itchy, pinky and tearing eye are more prominent.
Treatment Through Acupuncture:
- Allergic sinusitis. We use LI 20 (Ying Xiang), which corresponding to maxillary sinus, LI11 (Qu Chi), LI 4(He Gu) and GB 20 (Feng Chi).
Frontal sinusitis: add UB 2 (Zan Zhu)
Ethmoid sinusitis: add SI 18 (Quan Liao)
Notes: Please see news letter 5 for table 1 and Pic 1 series, news letter 6 for table 2 and Pic 2 series Newsletter 7 for table 3 and Pic 3 series from www.drxuacupuncture.co for the location and photos of the acupuncture points.
Acupressure Tips for patients:
- The key acupressure points are LI 20, UB2 and GB14. You will feel your sinus opening by pressing the above points in both sides for 5 min of each and 2 to 3 sessions.
- Irrigating your sinuses with normal saline or some Chinese herbs solution might give you a significant improvement.
Acupuncture Tips for Practitioners:
- By electrical stimulation the points of LI 20 (Ying Xiang), UB 2 (Zan Zhu) and GB 14 (Yang Bai), you may give patients a surprise that their sinusitis and headache might go away within one to two sessions, because the above points may increase the opening of the sinus and drain the sinus. The patients will feel “the pressure over the sinus” are much less after the treatment.
- LI 20 (Ying Xiang) is the outlet of the large intestine meridian and is adjacent to the nose, thus LI 20 connects the nose to the sinus after stimulation of the point. By stimulation of points of LI 20, UB 2 and GB 14, the treatment desensitizes the mucus membrane and decreases the amount of secretion. Hu Gu is the original location of the large intestine point, which can make the invasion of the allergen decrease and also will expel the allergen from the body. GB 20 (Feng Chi) will enhance LI 4 (He Gu) of the function to expel the invasion of the allergen.
For allergic eye symptoms we use GB20 (Feng Chi ), LI11 (Qu Chi), LI 4(He Gu) plus the followings, St 1 (Cheng Qi), St 2 (Si Bai), SJ 23 (Si Zu Kong) GB 14 (Yang Bai), GB 1 (Tong Zi Liao), UB 2 (Zan Zhu), UB 1 (Qing Ming), ST 8 (Tou Wei) and Ex-HN5 (Tai Yang).
For itching in the ear, add SJ 21 (Er Meng) and SI 19 (Ting Gong), GB 2 (Ting Hui).
See Table 4-2, Pic 4-1 and Pic 4-2
Acupressure Tips for patients:
- For patient with itching ear and tinnitus, SI 19, SJ 21 and GB 2 are the best choice. You may press the above points for 3 to 5 min, 2 to 3 sessions per day for 2 weeks, you will realize the beauty of the points.
- For tearing and itching eye, GB 1, UB1 and St 1 are good choice.
Acupuncture Tips for practitioners:
- Electrical stimulations for SI 19, SJ 21 and GB 2 will greatly improve hearing, tinnitus and decrease the ear itching. You have to further differentiate the symptoms based on the patient’s body types, there are two subtypes:
- Kidney Yang deficiency accompanied with symptom of cold in all 4 extremities, fatigue, and clean and long urine: add UB 23 (Sheng Shu) see Pic 3-1 and table 3-4.
- Gall Bladder fire excess accompanied with symptom of thirty, bitter in the mouth, inflamed eye, add GB 34 (Yang Ling Quan) and Li 3 (Tai Chong).
- GB 20 (Feng Chi) ( See Pic 1-1 and table 1-1) protects the patient from the allergen invasion and strengthens the immune function of the human body. St 8 (Tou Wei) and Ex-HN5 (Tai Yang) are around the scalp, and will decrease headaches.
Initially Dan J underwent my treatment for four visits. On his first visit, after about 20 minutes, his eyes were dry and his sinuses had stopped running, which made him happy and much more comfortable. With three more treatments, his symptoms were almost gone. After discussing the case with his mother, Dan J came back for continued treatment, for a total of ten visits. His problem was mainly due to a weakened immune system with deficiency of Kidney and Lung. he needed acupuncture to help him improve these systems, thus casting off the effects of allergens on his body.
After subsiding his symptom, Dan was advised to return to my office during summer for about 12 visits, even then he did not have any symptom. After these treatments, Dan’s immune system was much strengthened, he only needed to come to me at the beginning of the next few allergy seasons for five to six visits. Recently, however, his symptoms are so much improved, that he no longer needs to consult me, even at the beginning of new allergy season.
Tips for everybody:
“Strengthening your Yang in the summer, nourishing your Ying in the winter” is the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which guides TCM practitioners for more than two thousand years. It means that the patients of allergy, sinusitis and asthma should be treated during summer for strengthening their Yang, i.e. immune system. The acupuncture points are UB 13 (Lung, Fei Shu), UB 15 (Heart, Xin Shu), UB 20 (Spleen, Pi Shu) and UB 23 (Kidney, Shen Shu). This is the reason I requested Dan J came to my office during summer for 12 visits.