Allergy sufferers turning to massage therapy for relief

Here in Michiana, the pollen count is through the roof, and that means plenty of folks are sniffling and wiping watery eyes.

Medicines may prevent the symptoms, but nothing is foolproof. That is why some folks swear by massage therapy.

The last thing Melyssa Smith needs is to be slowed down by her seasonal allergies. She's a mom, works and goes to school.

This spring her special weapon against allergy's stuffy nose, runny eyes and headache, is massage.

"I noticed relief, slight relief instantaneously when i got off the table,” says Melyssa. “I notice things were different. It wasn't complete relief for one or two days afterwards, but it lasted longer than any pill I would take."

Research shows stress can exacerbate allergy symptoms by increasing production of histamines, the chemical our body pours out in response to allergens like pollen.

Reduce the stress, relieve the allergic reaction. And, hands down, massage helps you relax, and subsequently, breathe easier.

"It increases the blood flow, and the blood circulation and it clears the mucus from the sinuses and the throat and the nose,” explains massage therapist Sherri Pierce. “It allows relaxation and it loosens the phlegm in the throat as well."

Sometimes Pierce adds hot stones to facilitate lymphatic drainage, blood flow and relaxation.

"With these techniques you have very little side effects,” says Pierce. “You may have some drowsiness, some drainage and coughing within the next 24-48 hours. But after that, you should feel you can breathe a lot easier, more efficiently."

Pierce says the results can last up to three weeks.

While it may help, doctors say, massage therapy is not meant to replace medication for treating allergies. It's a complimentary therapy.

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