Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is a hypersensitive reaction to pollen present in the air by the immune system within our body. This inflammatory condition mostly occurs during Spring and Summer due to a large amount of pollen being released into the environment by plants and trees. Pollen is not considered to be a harmful stimulus and not everyone who is exposed to the pollens develops a reaction but an individual who has an allergic tendency is more prone to develop the symptoms of hay fever. Symptoms may include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and skin, congestion and pressure in the sinuses. The severity of these symptoms and signs may also vary from individual to individual and can have a dramatic impact on one’s health and well-being.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that hay fever symptoms occur because of the invasion of external pathogens in an individual’s body which is similar to the views of Western Science. However, TCM also believes that the invasion of pathogens is the result of having a deficient level of protective Qi (life force energy) within our body. The lack of this protective Qi within the body will allow the external pathogens to attack and invade the upper respiratory system which will lead to the onset of hay fever symptoms.

In my clinical experience, genetics, improper eating habits, chronic stress and lack of sleep are the main common causes of depletion of the protective Qi. Excessive intake of oily and sugary foods can also further weaken the immune system and further exacerbate the symptoms. Hence some individuals must adjust their lifestyle habits to avoid symptoms of hay fever to help improve their overall health.

Here are some lifestyle suggestions:

–          Seek qualified health practitioners for immediate support and relief

–          Regular exercise

–          Meditation or breathing technique to relieve stress

–          Have an adequate amount of sleep

The treatment principle of Chinese Medicine is mainly to expel the external pathogens within the body and strengthen the protective Qi. It is ideal for one to seek acupuncture or herbal medicine treatment 1-2 months prior to springtime. In doing so, it can often help prevent the onset of hay fever symptoms or reduce the severity significantly.

Here are some suggested acupressure points you can use to help provide basic relief:

Massage the below suggested points gently in a clockwise direction. For each point, complete this process for only 5-10mins on a daily basis. All of these points if massaged will assist in the clearing of the external pathogens as well as strengthening the overall Qi within the body.

Triple Warmer 5: This acupressure point is located on the dorsal side of the forearm, 3 finger breadths above the wrist between the ulna and radius bone.


Triple Warmer 2: This acupressure point is located on the dorsal side of the hand, proximal to the margin of the web between the 4th and 5th fingers, at the junction of the red and white skin.


Large Intestine 4: This acupressure point is located on the dorsal side of the hand, roughly between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones. This acupressure point should not be used during pregnancy.


Stomach 36: This acupressure point is located 4 finger breadths below your knee caps and located between the head of the fibula and tibia tuberosity (the two long bones of your lower leg).

If you have any health concerns, please always seek tailored health advice from your qualified health practitioners.  

Dr William Ly is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist at Inner West Health Clinic.

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