Stuffiness Be Gone!
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Stuffiness Be Gone!

Acupuncture and herbs help with my seasonal allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. But the painful stuffiness persisted no matter what. FINALLY, I applied the suction cups around acupuncture points "WindGate & Feishu" and VOILA, Stuffiness Be Gone! 

About Cupping
Cupping is an ancient healing modality used by many cultures, and benefits a wide variety of complaints. Cupping techniques drain lymphatic fluids, loosen fascial tissue and adhesions, and improve blood circulation etc. 
Cupping is a DIY because anyone can purchase the rubber cups and have someone else apply them or apply themselves. 

Cupping is very safe when a few simple precautions are followed. Avoid cupping directly on the spine and over the kidneys. And Consult with a provider if:

  • you have a chronic pulmonary disease (e.g. COPD)
  • you are thinking about cupping a child
  • you are/ think you are pregnant
  • you want to cup other parts of the body

What are Wind Gate & Feishu?
WindGate is bilaterally below the base of the neck, and between the upper boarders of the shoulder blades, about 2.5 inches lateral from the spine. It strengthens wei qi (immunity), and releases exterior wind-cold (allergic symptoms). Fieshu is about 2 inches below Windgate. It descends lung qi (cough), releases exterior wind (asthma, wheezing, allergies etc.). It is a very important point for chronic respiratory diseases [1]. You can apply yet another cup in a different location if you like. Or glide the cup out towards the shoulders or over the shoulder blades. 

How To Cup
The cup is a simple device; just squeeze and apply. Always squeeze again to release the cup from your skin. Release the cup to apply to a different locations when you feel ready to. You may apply a small amount of all purpose massage oil to facilitate the suction and glide over your skin. It is best not to add citrus and terpene (e.g. pine) essential oils which may degrade the rubber, and/or irritate the skin.

How Does Cupping Feel?
Cupping does not hurt- it should feel really good. The suction feels like a gently or deep massage depending on how much suction you apply. 
You will FEEL a problem area that needs treatment upon applying the cup. Hang out there for awhile and experience waves of deep & diffuse aches in problem areas as release occurs. These areas may even be remote to the area you are cupping. For example, you may feel an achiness up along the back of your head, up through your sinuses, to the roof of your mouth, or between your eyes. Then you feel better. Wiggle the cups slowly or quickly to facilitate the release. Your sinuses (as well as neck & shoulder tension) should start to release, and continue to release more afterwards.

What Happens After Cupping?
Your may have gotten a "Cup Kisses" which look like hickeys. This is GOOD. It is old blood & debris released from the problem area. It will dissipate in a few hours but may appear alarming to others. It will be less & less each time you cup the same areas it first appeared. After cupping, the area should be guarded from cold & wind. Hydrate well for 24 hours.  Clean the rubber cups with antibacterial soap, rinse, dry, then store in a white cotton wrap (e.g. a small sock). 

Additional Herbs & Oils
To complement the cupping for allergic symptoms, use aromatic herbals via moist warm or cool inhalation (ice instead of steam), topical compresses to your upper back, or internally:

  • Rosemary essential oil via inhalation helps stuffiness for a little while. And Lavender has some antiallergic properties my soothing soft tissues.

  • Bitter Orange essential oil can be beneficial for reactive airway wheezing (e.g. due to forest fire or cigarette smoke) when inhaled for about 20 minutes. In Chinese medicine bitter orange (zhi ke) and Immature Bitter Orange (zhi shi) are used for qi stagnation & turbid phlegm obstructing the flow of qi through the lungs.

  • Blue Tansy  (Tanacetum annuum) essential oil is an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. It is exceptionally effective for sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. Apply a drop on a Q-tip and place topically under the tongue. DO NOT use Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), which is too harsh.

  • Honeysuckle Flowers (jin yin hua)- A warm compress of the tea soothes red & itchy eyes. Frequently combined with Chinese chrysanthemum flowers (ju hua) for eye symptoms. Convenient because honeysuckle blooms around spring allergy season. Imbibe the tea too. 

  • Fresh Ginger Peel (sheng jiang)- a warm compress of mild tea (not the essential oil) soothes puffy-achey eyes when the cooling herbs & compresses make things worse. In Chinese medicine fresh ginger peel releases the exterior (defensive immunity); disperses cold (improves circulation); and harmonizes the ying & wei (immune & inflammatory responses). A tea of dried ginger (Gan jiang) dries thin-watery-white sputum.

  • Myrtle hydrosol is mucolytic and expectorant for congested sinuses, allergic asthma, and seasonal bronchitis. Take it internally 2-3 times a week prophylactically before the allergy season ensues; increasing to daily if symptoms appear. Myrtle hydrosol is anti- inflammatory and mucolytic to the GI tract where allergies may have there root. Myrtle hydrosol is also one of the only hydrosols that can be used as an eye rinse for eye allergy symptoms (Catty, 2001). 

INTEGRATIVE  MEDICINE  TIPHydrosols are the distillate, or by-product, of essential oil distillation. They are clear fluids that contain a concentration of the larger and more water soluble volatile oil constituents that can not make it into the essential oil. As well as the medicinal non essential oil elements from the herb. They are a wonderfully gentle, and cost-effective alternative to essential oils. They are used internally or topically in a similar fashion as essential oils, tinctures & Chinese herbal teas. They are concentrated, so only tiny amounts are diluted in a water-based carrier of choice.  Nature's Gift  has a wide selection of hydrosols. For comprehensive information on what each is for, and how to use them see 'Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy" by Catty.

[i]  Health CMi. Acupuncture targets lung cancer. Retrieved from

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