Allergies are a common problem for many Canadians. In fact, ‘more than one in six Canadians suffer from hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis,' according to the CBC. The body’ immune system reacts strongly to tiny invaders like pollen and mold spores, resulting in irritation and inflammation of the sinuses.
While most allergy sufferers reach for antihistamines to soothe their symptoms, studies have revealed that most antibiotics and topical nasal spray steroids prescribed for sinusitis patients have no demonstrated clinical benefit.* Massage therapy can provide effective non-pharmaceutical relief, removing much of the congestive toxins causing allergies while reinvigorating the immune system.
What factors aggravate allergy symptoms and how can massage help? Read on to find out.
Allergies occur when a person’s immune system responds aggressively to common substances like pollen, dust, or certain foods. During an allergic reaction, a patient’s immune system accidentally identifies a harmless substance as harmful, and then aggressively reacts to the perceived threat. The body produces Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to fight the allergen, and these antibodies encourage the production of histamine and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
These symptoms can range from uncomfortable to very serious depending on the severity of the allergy, and include:
While massage is not recommended for severe allergies that require immediate medical attention, it can act as an effective complementary treatment for symptoms caused by seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies that cause itchy eyes, a runny or congested nose, and sneezing can often be aggravated by stress. That’s because when a person’s body is stressed, it releases additional histamine – which is a common allergy chemical.
Researchers have found that when someone is feeling stressed, their allergy symptoms often become more uncomfortable because of the added histamine in their bloodstream.
As one of the most popular massage modalities, Swedish massage is a staple of a student’s massage therapy training – and with good reason. Studies have demonstrated that Swedish massage helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which promotes feelings of relaxation and wellbeing in patients.
For patients suffering from allergy symptoms, this sense of relaxation can provide additional relief as it helps to reduce stress levels aggravating their allergy symptoms.
Patients who seek the help of a registered massage therapist can receive Swedish massage to reduce their stress levels, but they can also benefit from facial and lymphatic drainage massage therapy. Facial massages help drain the sinuses and alleviate built-up pressure and congestion, which are common seasonal allergy symptoms.
Students at OVCMT learn lymphatic drainage massage techniques, stimulating the flow of lymphatic fluids and circulation to allow the body’s healing systems to function optimally. During a treatment, a massage therapist applies gentle lymphatic drainage strokes to the patient’s forehead, cheeks, and neck, and additionally may apply pressure point techniques to surrounding tissues to decrease soft tissue tension. This helps drain the sinuses and provide relief to patients.
Do you know other ways professionals with therapeutic massage certification can help patients suffering from seasonal allergies?
Source: *Journal of American Medical Association Vol.298 No.21, December 5, 2007 :2487-2496