May is one of the most beautiful months of the year and the start of some really warm weather here in South West France which means most of our time is spent outdoors; but unfortunately for those who suffer with hayfever/allergies this time of year can be miserable with lots of uncomfortable symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus pain, headaches and fatigue. If living in a rural area especially, these symptoms can have a huge impact on your ability to carry out your normal tasks and routines let alone enjoy your summer.
Many of my clients with hayfever tell me during consultation how they have tried every allergy medicine under the sun to try and relieve their symptoms. Although some of these may work well for a while, there are some other natural ways you can treat your allergies for some additional relief. Here are some of my top picks:
One of the best outcomes we achieve in Reflexology has to be sinus and ear issues. Working the reflexes along the toes can be very sensitive in clients with sinus pain but it is so effective it can sometimes be felt in the face during the treatment or sometimes the next day. You may find your sinus pain worsens in the face following the treatment and your nose will run all day but then a couple of days later the relief will may often come, sometimes quite dramatically. Clients feel it is worth this temporary discomfort for the longer term relief. As the sinus reflexes are so specific I can also show clients or their partners how to work over the main reflex points between their scheduled treatments. (Look out for my YouTube demo coming soon)
Tell your reflexologist your specific symptoms and they will target not just the sinuses but other areas affected by your hayfever/allergies such as dry eyes, sleep, fatigue, headaches and low mood.
Essential oils are a great natural way to relieve congestion, sinus pain and headaches. Here are some of my favourites for hayfever.
(Please always ensure you purchase 100% essential oils used in aromatherapy and not fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are synthetic and are not extracted from the plant so do not contain the same healing properties!)
Eucalyptus: a natural expectorant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic; steaming a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil can really help clear the airways. This is a strong oil which has the potential to burn so ensure you add the drops gradually. You can also add to a bath or facial massage. Always add a carrier oil if applying to the skin.
Lavendar and peppermint/lemon: This combination is a soothing and effective allergy relief which can be added to a diffuser or oil burner in the home. Mixed with a carrier oil you can also apply to the skin. Lavendar's sweet and relaxing aroma with the fresh and stimulating Peppermint means it's pleasant to burn throughout the day.
Peppermint oil is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory and can also be effective streamed on it's own.
Lavendar is relaxing and can help with sleep but is also an effective anti-inflammatory so is a good one to use before bed.
Lemon is fresh and uplifting and can help to energise and lift your mood but be aware of sun exposure if applied to the skin.
Aromatherapy massage is a soothing way to relax and relieve symptoms of hayfever. Always try to leave the oils on your skin for several hours after your massage treatment, as these oils penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream you can benefit from their healing properties long after the treatment has ended. Just beware of staying out of direct sunlight.
For best results I recommend steaming at least 1 to 2 times a day.
Reflexology: for preventative treatment, we recommend starting your treatments before the hayfever season starts and then at least fortnightly with targeted reflex sessions for approx 30 minutes per session.
Essential oils are not expensive and last a very long time. You will not need to purchase more than a 10ml bottle. They can be purchased online or from independent retailers but please ensure they are authentic (reviews are a good guide for this)
Never apply directly to skin as they will burn, always mix with a carrier oil such as grapeseed, sweet almond or organic sunflower oil for massage.
Store your oils in a cool dark place, they will lose their properties and scent if not stored properly.
Add your drops gradually, a little goes a long way.
Please let me know how you get along!