Acupressure Points for Allergy Relief on the Portland Trail or Anywhere

You’re a hiker. A pioneer into uncharted mostly charted lands. A wilderness aficionado. One with the wondrous beauty of Portland (and surrounding) nature. Unfortunately, nature includes allergens. Allergens that give you, well, allergies.

And allergy season is in full swing in Portland! Pollen is in the air, antihistamine stock is skyrocketing, tissues overflow many-a-house’s trash bins, and you, puffy-eyed hero hiker, forgot to take your medicine before leaving your house.

So here you sit, having popped a squat on the nearest rock, rosy-nosed and flush-faced from the pungent perfume of pollen, lamenting your luck and lack thereof. Your sinuses are burning and one nostril is stuffed closed while the other won’t stop leaking all over your new quarter-zip fleece. You’re halfway into your hike, it would practically be a crime to turn back. What do you do without your antihistamines?

But then you remember an article. This article. The one written about you, your allergies, and acupressure. And you remember you don’t actually know anything about acupressure, but that that’s okay, because what you need is all right here. 

As it turns out, acupressure is pretty straightforward. It’s very much like acupuncture, but without the needles. Instead you use firm pressure on specific points on your body with a little rotating massage. Acupressure is used to treat all kinds of things—from migraines to insomnia to allergy symptoms. Acupressure works by stimulating blood flow and restoring the balance to your qi, or life energy. One of the best things about acupressure is that it’s very practical: you can perform acupressure on yourself wherever you go, whether you’re halfway up Mt. Hood, sitting in your car in traffic, or at your desk.

Now, for allergy relief, you’ll use the animé-sounding yet effective four gates, which incorporates the acupressure points Hegu and Taichong. Hegu is the nook on the back of each hand between your pointer finger and your thumb, whereas Taichung is atop each foot between the bones of your first and second toes. To relieve allergy symptoms like sinus problems and nasal congestion, breath deeply and steadily, keeping pressure on each point for one to two minutes in succession, and repeat three times. Need a quick way to remember that? It’s as easy as “one, two, three!” And… well, and four. Think one to two minutes, three cycles, all four points. Bam. Symptom relief.

The next time you find yourself miserable from allergies and miles away from your medicine, remember to give acupressure a try so you can keep moving and enjoy your trip. And don’t forget to pack any used tissues with you! When venturing into nature, always leave no trace.