… itchy eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing … how do you manage the many symptoms?
It is that time of year again when we are enjoying longer sunnier days, better weather (hopefully!), spending more time outdoors and enjoying the gardens.
However, for some, this time of year can be a bit of a nightmare due to Hay fever!
Hay fever is an allergic reaction triggered by pollen (a fine powder from plants) plus also grasses, dust, moulds, air pollution - typically when it is airborne and comes into contact with your mouth, nose, ears & throat.
The body then reacts and releases a chemical called ‘Histamine’, causing irritation and inflammation of the sinuses and respiratory system leaving the person with watery, itchy, puffy eyes, runny nose, headaches, sneezing, chesty/wheezy coughs and feeling pretty rubbish and foggy headed in general.
Those that suffer from hay fever year after year are constantly looking for solutions to help combat the symptoms and effects that pollen has on them.
Over the counter hay fever remedies, Prescription medication, local honey … even drinking Gin! (Evidently due to the botanicals used in making it).
BUT WHAT ABOUT REFLEXOLOGY OR MASSAGE THERAPY?
… HOW COULD THESE THERAPIES BE OF HELP?
1. Congestion Relief
Facial massage, Back Massage & Reflexology can all help with boosting your circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system and clearing out & opening up your sinuses.
With Reflexology, focusing on various reflexology points on the feet (or your hands) including the sinuses, lymphatic system, and adrenal glands to name a few - can help to boost your circulation and help you feel relaxed.
2. Reduce Stress
Massage and Reflexology are great therapies for Relaxation and also help to trigger those ‘feel good’ endorphins – lowering stress levels, blood pressure and heart rate. Keeping these levels ‘in-check’ can help to reduce symptoms and the negative effect they can have if experiencing hay fever symptoms.
A study found that those with hay fever who had high levels of stress suffered more severe symptoms –
3. Tired, Achy Muscles
Constant sneezing, coughing, and feeling bleurgh … can all have a negative effect on our body’s muscles. They can start to feel tired, tense, and achy – thus creating more stress.
Having massage to relieve this tension helps to relax the muscles, reducing cortisol levels and allows the sinuses to relax and release any blockages.
4. Lacking Energy?
When feeling run down and lacking energy levels Reflexology & Massage therapy are great for boosting energy levels and helping us feel more ‘grounded’, balanced, and relaxed.
For those suffering from sleepless nights due to symptoms of hay fever – Reflexology/Massage can help to relieve any tension, make us feel much more relaxed which helps aid a better night’s sleep.
6. Sinus Headaches
Unfortunately, Headaches can often be an issue with Hay Fever - and Massage is great for helping relieve the discomfort or reduce the pain and frequency.
7. Boost your Immune System
Due to the calming nature and effects of touch – these therapies have a positive effect with -
• reducing stress levels,
• improving circulation
• increasing blood flow around the body and improving oxygen & nutrients circulation
• providing relaxation
Thus, helping to strengthen the Immune system.
Other Top Tips -
Have a shower before bedtime to wash off your day – reducing pollen and other irritants on our skin and hair.
Rub a little Vaseline around nostrils to help trap pollen before entering nose.
Change bedding regularly.
Keeping windows closed and investing in a fan or air purifier (with pollen filters) can help to reduce irritants rather than sleeping with windows open.
Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth.
Stay indoors when possible.
Keep yourself Hydrated by ensuring you drink enough water during the day.
Using certain Essential oils (Eucalyptus or Peppermint) in a Diffuser, bowl of hot water, or putting a few drops on a piece of tissue to inhale the vapour can help to open up and clear sinuses.
- Eucalyptus can help to ease the inflammation in the lungs caused by the allergy and make breathing easier.
- Peppermint can help to open up the nose and helps relieve Headaches resulting from blocked sinuses.
(n.b. always check safety Data and ensure the essential oils are safe for you to use).
EYE PILLOWS (personally handmade & available from Ali … "A Little Calm")
• Using a chilled Eye Pillow to soothe tired, puffy, itchy eyes.
• Using a heated Eye Pillow to aid a good night sleep.
(Eye pillows available either Unscented or with Lavender added; Lavender – a natural antihistamine, can help reduce irritation and relax breathing.)
So, although there is currently no cure for Hay fever - finding relief with Reflexology & Massage Therapy can help to support the body's efforts to function optimally - helping to improve circulation, boost your immune system, reduce tension and help us feel calmer and more relaxed - therefore improving our mood, wellbeing and outlook on the whole situation.
Read more about Hay Fever - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hay-fever
If in doubt - always check your symptoms with your G.P/Health practitioner.
Ali Iles is a Reflexology & Massage therapist based in Downend, Bristol, UK.
A registered therapist with
Contact Ali for further information if interested in learning more about having Reflexology or a Massage Therapy session.