Stress affects Respiratory Allergies
Respiratory Allergies are aggravated by Stress
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you’re having a really tough stressful day, you sneeze a lot and your skin feels itchier?
Hay-fever, allergic Rhinitis and asthma suffers know just how stressful these conditions are but it seems that stress may actually be contributing to you experiencing allergies in the first place.
Researchers are now finding that certain allergic disorders like hay fever, asthma, (and eczema) are regulated, in part, by hormones and brain chemicals released into the bloodstream in response to stress. Respiratory allergy seems to be very prone to being aggravated by stress. Fortunately it is possible to reduce stress and therefore reduce your allergic reactions.
Research suggests that introducing stress reduction processes to people who suffer with allergies has the potential to positively affect a substantial number of people with hayfever and asthma. As many as 30% to 40% of asthma and hayfever sufferers demonstrate sensitivity to short-term stress and other emotional states that may worsen their disease.
A new study shows that even slight stress and anxiety can substantially worsen a person’s allergic reaction to some routine allergens.
More importantly the added impact of stress and anxiety seems to linger causing the second day of a stressed person’s allergy attack to be much worse than it would have been without the stress.
This finding, which is the latest in more than three decades of study on stress and immunity, is important, as allergic reactions are the fifth-most-common chronic disease in western countries such as American and Australia.
In a report presented by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and Ronald Glaser, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston, Ohio State University researchers described recent experiments meant to gauge how psychological stress might affect allergy sufferers.
At the beginning of this research project people were given standardised Allergy scratch tests. The researchers measured the raised “wheals” (those “red itchy hot blotches”) that formed on the arms of the participants before and after they were stressed, as well as the next day.
“The wheals on a person who was moderately anxious because of the experiment were 75 percent larger after the experiment, compared to that same person’s response on the day when they were not stressed,” Kiecolt-Glaser said signifying a stronger reaction.
The effect of stress and anxiety on allergies is cumulative. According to Janice Kiecolt Glaser “the people who were highly anxious had wheals that were twice as big after they were stressed compared to their response when they were not stressed.
Moreover, these same people were four times more likely to have a stronger reaction to the skin test one day later after the stress,” she said.
Other studies have demonstrated that psychological interventions such as stress management and relaxation response training seem to influence the expression of allergic disorders via the effects that stress levels and relaxation have on circulating blood Cortisol levels or the immune response.
High Cortisol levels as occurs in stress causes other immune cells or white blood cells, e.g., mast cells and basophils, to release additional inflammatory substances that bring on an allergic response in sensitive tissues, for example, nasal and sinus passages (“rhinitis”), skin (“eczema”) and airways (“asthma”).
Evidence from overlapping research supports the idea that psychological interventions aimed at reducing stress and modifying mood states influence asthma expression.
Despite these findings and the findings of a Harvard Medical School study linking allergic reactions to stress and negative emotions, medical research continues to focus on yet more drugs that treat only the symptoms of the allergy without addressing the cause of allergy.
There is however another way!
Within my practice I have seen clients with Asthma and Hayfever and other allergies improve as they have addressed their stress triggers and learnt how to overcome stress and be more relaxed.
I have found processes such as FasterEFT, Neuro-emotional Technique ( NET), and Hypnosis to be very affective in addressing the underlying beliefs and unresolved trauma that results in ongoing stress reactions.
NET has been used clinically for over 25 years to effectively managed stress reactions and there is a body of research that shows the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Technique ( EFT) (1) in reducing or eliminating the effects of stress on allergies.
Remember from my previous post on Reduce Respiratory Allergies with these wholistic tips to make sure that you are eating a diet that encourages healthy bacteria in you bowel to help support your immune system and build healthy lungs .
(1) Gallo, Fred and Harry Vincenzi. Energy Tapping. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, 2008.