People who have allergies are hypersensitive to the things they are allergic to. Their immune system begins an attack on the offending substance, releasing histamines, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, platelet activating factor, and chemotactic factor. This causes the blood vessels to dilate, the capillaries to become more permeable, and the smooth muscles to contract. For some, the reaction is immediate, and can occur within minutes, for others it may take hours for symptoms to appear.

Western medicine usually treats allergies with antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, and allergy shots. Eastern medicine has a number of treatments for allergies that are free of side effects when they are prescribed and used properly. Also, Eastern medicine’s theories about the causes and mechanisms of allergies can help the individual take charge of her own health.

Why do some people get sick and others do not when exposed to the same toxins? Western medicine says it is due to a weakened immune system, and Eastern say the defensive qi is weak. The words are different, but the idea is basically the same. The difference lies in how that problem is solved. Western medicine treats the symptoms of disease when they develop. Eastern helps the body strengthen its defensive qi. In Eastern medicine, defensive qi is formed from consumed food and liquids. Weakened organs cannot do their jobs properly, and acupuncture and herbs can strengthen them. In other words, Eastern medicine works to support and strengthen the body so that it is better able to function as it should, as compared to Western medicine, which takes over the functions of the body artificially. Eastern medicine has safe and effective treatments for both the acute allergic episode and the underlying root cause of the episodes.

Eastern medical treatment is based on pattern differentiation. In order to explain the difference between a disease in Western terms, and a pattern in Eastern terms, we can use two headache sufferers as an example. From a Western standpoint, recommendations such as medications, will be prescribed on the basis of the disease diagnosis (migraine headache, cluster headache, stress related headache, etc.) An Eastern practitioner needs additional information such as the location on the head, the type of pain (throbbing, continuous, sharp, intermittent, etc.) In addition, the practitioner looks for other signs of imbalance in other parts of the body such as indigestion, loose stools, dry mouth, skin rashes, ringing in the ears, or dizziness. From this review of the whole body, the Eastern practitioner is able to determine the pattern that describes the whole person as a unique individual. The treatment is then designed to rebalance that pattern of imbalance and address the major complaint or disease.

Two patients with the same disease diagnosis may receive quite different treatments if their medical pattern is different, or they may receive the same treatment if their disease pattern is the same. Because the patient gets the appropriate treatment to restore balance to their particular body, the side effects caused by forcing one part of the body to behave while causing an imbalance in the other are eliminated.