New research suggests breathing and meditation exercises could help eliminate a key trigger of allergies and hay fever - stress.
A study conducted by researchers of Ohio State University, U.S. has revealed that stress could be a key factor in making hay fever and allergy symptoms worse.
As a result, breathing and meditation exercises are thought to be highly effective in helping to relieve allergy flare-ups.
Researchers monitored the allergies of 179 patients over 12 weeks to reach their findings, which have been published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. These show that the 39% of patients who had more than one allergy flare up had higher stress levels than the rest of the group.
In fact, a number of people tested admitted that they had suffered allergy flare-ups that coincided with how stressed they were feeling.
This has led researchers to believe that although sneezing and coughing can exacerbate stress and tension, flare-ups can actually trigger a self-perpetuating cycle of stress and sneezing.
Dr Amber Patterson, from the Ohio State University Medical Centre, said:
"Stress can cause several negative effects on the body, including causing more symptoms for allergy sufferers.
"Our study also found those with more frequent allergy flares also have a greater negative mood, which may be leading to these flares."
As well as taking time to meditate and practice breathing techniques, scientists also recommend that allergy sufferers avoid smoking and coffee to keep stress levels down. A healthy diet and regular physical activity is also considered essential for helping to reduce allergy symptoms.
Dr Jean Emberlin, Director of Pollen UK, said the birch pollen season is due to start early this year. The expected high pollen levels will make life difficult for hay fever sufferers.
If you want to tackle your stress and anxiety head-on to prevent your hay fever symptoms from getting worse, why not consider a complementary therapy? Please see our therapy topics page for a list of treatments that have been found effective in relieving stress and tension.
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