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Acorn Health Blog

What we love is great health...

...and we like to write about how we can all achieve better health, naturally. Sometimes tips on how you can DIY to better health and sometimes on the therapies that can make a difference to you, your health and wellbeing.
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Hay-Fever Hacks for Pollen Allergies .. what haven’t you tried yet?

General Health & Wellbeing, Therapies Posted on Tue, March 26, 2024 11:12AM

Author:    Eileen Strong, Holistic Therapies & Health Coaching 

It’s Spring-time here in the the UK right now; such a beautiful time of year. The bright green shoots of new growth are appearing in nature all around us and we don’t have to look far to see the first of the year’s blossoms in our gardens, on streets, or in the hedgerows, soon to be followed by the luminous yellow glow of Oilseed Rape on the distant hillsides.

Nature is busy adorning herself with flowers that help to provide food for some of our favourite insects such as bees and butterflies along with many other species.

 I can wax lyrical all day long about that .. but if you’re a Hay-fever Sufferer, you may be feeling less enthused and it’s time to just refresh yourself on your go-to list of Hay-Fever Hacks.

Hay-Fever is also known as “seasonal allergic rhinitis” and according to the NHS (UK National Health Service) and AllergyUK, it is caused by tree and grass pollen from springtime through summer, or weed pollen in the autumn.

Lady with Hay Fever Allergy sneezing. Background of OilSeed Rape Flowers. Hay Fever Hacks.  Image Credit to Corina from Pixabay

AllergyUK has a useful “Pollen Calendar” available for free download from their website to give Hay Fever sufferers a better idea of the particular time-frames specific pollens are likely to be in abundance – although if your particular allergy is to Oilseed Rape, you might notice less of it about from 2024. I’ve added a handy link to that if you want to take a peek Pollen Calendar – Source AllergyUK

There is also a non seasonal “perennial allergic rhinitis” that can happen all year round, and that’s believed to be caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mould spores and so on. They even mention cockroach poop 😱 as a common allergen, exposure to air pollution, and occupational allergens (chemicals, including household cleaning products, fumes, etc).  Today, I’m just going to talk about the seasonal allergic rhinitis sort. Otherwise this blog about popular Hay-Fever hacks is just going to get way too long and complicated; tho’ my heart goes out to one and all reading this who get any sort of allergic reaction that makes life miserable for them.

Not Sure? Get tested.

If you aren’t 100% sure if your allergy is Pollen or non-Pollen related, get Tested first! It sounds obvious but lots of folks don’t bother with this.

You can get a referral through your GP in the UK for an allergy test (Allergies – NHS ( and you can also get private tests done.  They are usually blood tests and patch tests.  Other naturopathic or homeopathic practitioners may also be able to help you out here so find out where your nearest practitioners are, and arrange a consultation or just email them for a bit more info on what their services are.

As ever, do a bit of research .. but please DO remember that Google is a Search Engine, not a ReSearch Engine;

Common Symptoms

Most common symptoms are bulleted below. (If I’ve missed any that should be glaringly obvious, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list):

  • Runny, itchy, watery eyes and nose
  • Stuffed-up, congested sinus
  • Itchy mouth, throat
  • Feeling of pressure or discomfort around temples/forehead
  • Itchiness or pain in the inner ear
  • Headaches
  • Loss of sense of smell and/or taste
  • Feeling fatigued and tired, wanting to sleep

If you have other body “stuff” going on as well, such as Asthma for example, then you might additionally feel more of a tightness in your chest, a shortness of breath, or experience more wheeziness or coughing. It’s no fun.

10 Little Actions to avoid your Pollen Allergy triggers “Don’t List”

They sound like fairly common sense, and this is what sources like NHS and AllergyUK recommend:

  • Don’t Mow the Grass
  • Don’t Walk on the Grass
  • Don’t have fresh flowers in the house
  • Don’t Go Outside
  • If you go Outside, Don’t Spend too long Outside (especially if pollen count is high, naturally)
  • Don’t dry clothes outside (in case they catch airborn pollen and then it’ll come inside)
  • Don’t let your pets outside (in case they come back in, carrying pollen in their coats)
  • Don’t let other family members outside or don’t let them back in again! If you do let them in, make sure they de-pollenate first.
  • Don’t leave your windows or doors open
  • Don’t go out unless you’re wearing wraparound sunglasses (to keep pollen out of your eyes)
  • Don’t mix with other people if you have a high temperature or if you’re feeling so rubbish that you can’t do your normal activities.

Depending on how much you like your own company, or enjoy being indoors until mid-afternoon on those warm, humid and windy days and the pollen count is high, you might now find, however, that on top of all your unpleasant physical symptoms, you’ll also now be feeling Frustrated, Angry, Isolated, Trapped and very very Powerless.  

On the sunny side, you could reframe this completely and turn these days into Duvet Days or Pyjama Mornings.  😎

To plan in advance, keep an eye on the Met Office’s Pollen Count Forecast … click HERE for a link to that.


So, what other Hay-Fever Hacks will help?

If you want to go down the Medical route first, the most common options are:-

  • AntiHistamines .. you can take them in various forms such as tablets, liquids, syrups, creams, lotions, capsules, eyedrops, or nasal sprays. Your local trusted Pharmacist will be happy to advise, discuss with you what’s most suitable for your particular type of allergy, and be able to offer you something over-the-counter. They’re usually classified into one of two groups: “drowsy” and “non-drowsy”(self explanatory?) You can find out more about those here: NHS_Anti-Histamines

OR, by-pass your Pharmacist and get in the queue for an appointment with your regular G.P. before the end of the Pollen Season.

  • Steroids .. on prescription, usually in the form a nasal spray. Ask plenty of questions, and make sure you are ASKED plenty of questions too, to get the best brand for your particular allergy. You can find out more about those here: NHS_Steroid_Nasal_Spray
  • Immunotherapy .. on prescription, with a course of treatments that start in the winter BEFORE the Hay Fever season. You’ll be given teensy amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your own natural immunity to pollen. You can find out more about Immunotherapy here: WikiPedia_Immunotherapy. It isn’t just used for allergies; it’s also being researched as a possible treatment for some forms of cancer too.


What are the Other Effects of Anti-Histamines, Steroids or Immunotherapy?

This isn’t my specialty subject at all, so I won’t go there in detail. Your Pharmacist or GP should, as a matter of course, discuss possible other effects (“side-effects”) with you so You can make an informed decision. Hay Fever is quite common, but your particular combination of symptoms is unique to you. So I’d just recommend that you DO your own research, and ask as many questions as you want to ensure you are completely happy with your choice.

There is a lot to be said for both the PLACEBO affect and the NOCEBO affect; if you think it’s going to be good or bad for you, you’re probably going to be right. But, there’s nothing quite like taking responsibility for your own health, doing your own bit of research, and just doing a bit of “trial and error” testing to find out what will work best for you. And if you don’t like the results of your choice, you can always change it. As the wise man said, if you keep doing the same thing you’ve always done, then you’ll just keep getting more of what you’ve already got. It’s good to mix things up a bit and try something different.

Please DO remember that Experts who are Experts in their own field will usually just advocate those things they are Expert in.   So it’s very likely that you will get conflicting Expert Opinions. Don’t let this confuse or overwhelm you.  Get a good overview of what’s out there. And make your own decisions based on what feels most right for you.  You can always change your decision and try something else at a later date.

Helping yourself to non-med Hay-Fever Hacks – the “Do List”

Sometimes you’ll want to avoid a medical approach, perhaps because you are pregnant for example and advised to avoid certain meds; are allergic to the meds; simply have a personal preference that way. But let’s say you’re trying an Anti-Histamine medication, and it is helping to reduce the itchiness in your eyes, ears, nose and throat. Your health-related quality of life has improved, and the other effects (“side-effects”) are all okay with you; not too intrusive/expensive/offensive/debilitating.

But you’d really like to do a bit more to help your body out and show it a bit of Love and TLC by giving it a bit more support in all it’s natural, innate, healing processes. My belief from my own experiences and from working with hundreds of client cases is that your body WILL ALWAYS try to rebalance, repair and renew itself, especially when you look after it, honour it, and give it the recognition and appreciation it deserves.

Having an integrated approach to health is a really positive step forward as it gives you the most choices, a wider perspective, and therefore increases the options and opportunities open to you. Win win win.

#1 Make your own Medicine Bag

  • If you like honey, visit a local farm shop or bee-keeper whose hives are positioned close to where you live. It’s understood that just a spoonful of local honey a day (and it MUST be local, not a random bottle from the supermarket) will help your body build a natural tolerance to pollen in your area; I know several people who do this and they do believe it’s made a difference.
  • Increase your anti-oxidant levels to help build the resilience of your immune system. Quercitin is often recommended for this, which can be found readily available in onions, apples, berries and black tea. Do a bit of extra research here and you’ll find many more sources too.
  • If you don’t mind the taste, chamomile tea is not only calming, it is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, so it may help you with those inflamed and irritated sinus passageways. If you really don’t like the taste, you could always pop a bit of aforementioned local honey in it, or add a bit of lemon or ginger.
  • Dab a smear of coconut oil (or something similar) around your nostrils to help catch pollen at point of entry before it gets into your nasal passageways, ready to just wipe away.
  • Do remember to keep a pack of tissues in your pocket or handbag! See next bullet point!
  • Sanitising your hands (especially after you’ve been in contact with grass, flowers, or even dust / animal hair) can be super helpful. It’s surprising how often we touch our own faces in the course of a day with an eye-rub here or a little scratch there, and so on.  Not all sanitisers are drying or a bit caustic on skin .. shop around a bit for one that does the job in a kind way.  I use a beautifully fragranced organic Lavendin Spritz Spray in my holistic therapy practice for cleansing my hands between clients  (I’m not allergic to Lavendin, by the way)!  So if you opt for a natural sanitiser, check the ingredients aren’t sourced from anything you could be allergic to). (Message me if you want to know where I get my pure organic  Lavendin spritz from; it’s one of a kind and made with love and moon-light here in Cornwall, UK)
  • Take a bit of an exploratory dive into the world of Aromatherapy and get a little bottle of Eucalyptus oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve sinus congestion when inhaled; suggested method is a drop or two in a bowl of warm water and inhale the steam.   You could always add a drop to a tissue too, and inhale the scent through the course of your day.

Have you got anything else in your Hay-Fever Hack Medicine Bag? Let me know what else works for you and I’ll add it to the list to share with others.

#2 Natural Holistic & Complementary Therapies at Acorn

Any  natural/holistic centre or qualified Holistic Therapist in your neighbourhood will have a service that can help you manage your Hay Fever allergy symptoms to support whatever actions you are doing to help yourself. 

Here at Acorn, we have some fabulously effective services you can give a try.  At the time of writing, (post written in March 2024) here are some of our favourite suggestions that you can give a try, depending on the spare time you have available and your healthy-self budget:

HOPI EAR CANDLING – with Eileen and Anne-Marie

Thermo-Auricular Therapy (Hopi-Ear Candling) is a complementary therapy that can be used alongside medical treatments. It’s a relaxing, soothing, non-invasive treatment that’s been around for thousands of years in different cultures. It’s’ used extensively in Europe in medical and non-medical settings to help with ENT (Ear Nose Throat) issues. 

Hopi Ear Candling with EileenStrongCoaching.  Therapist demonstrating use of lit Hopi Ear Candle and client relaxing on couch

At Acorn, our therapists are myself (Eileen Strong) and Anne-Marie Allen. We’re both holistic therapists, qualified in a number of different therapies.  

Eileen and Anne-Marie got together recently to make a short video on Hopi-Ear candling and explain more about it here.  To view the Hopi Video, click here.

Here are our 3 Hopi-Ear Candling Services for you to choose from, along with handy booking link:

  • Candling only, lasts about 40 mins, that can help draw wax from the ear, “un-pop” ears, clear muffled hearing;    To BOOK with EILEEN click here
  • Candling + micro-massage/acu-point facial/lymph drainage massage lasts about 75 mins which is addresses allergy symptoms and de-congestion of ear nose throat, soothing runny eyes, reducing facial puffiness and promoting relaxation and a deep night’s sleep.  To BOOK WITH EILEEN CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Eileen’s other services, visit her official website here:

To find out more about Anne-Marie’s other services, visit her official website here:


Anne Marie offers a combination therapy that excludes Hopi Candling but includes 3 of her favourite treatments:  reflexology, aromatherapy and facial massage.   She’ll use specially blended aromatherapy oils to help you relax and de-stress whilst acting as natural antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and decongestant. The deeply relaxing Reflexology will help to heal and balance your body whilst helping to:

  • Boost the immune system, 
  • relieve and open congested sinuses, 
  • reduce stress, 
  • clear a stuffy head 
  • reduce inflammation

The treatment is topped with a wonderful facial massage helping to reduce stress, to clear the sinuses and bring relief to itchy eyes.  To BOOK WITH ANNE MARIE CLICK HERE


There are other natural health options available at Acorn that you may not have previously considered.  As ever, do your own research and see what resonates with you the most.


A lesser known yet extremely effective approach for allergies is a combination of Chinese Medicine and modern Psychology principles, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).   It may sound a bit weird to be connecting what seems to be a purely physical symptom (pollen allergy) with a therapy that sounds purely emotional.  A fair point well made, we think. 

A person and person sitting in chairs using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

However, as those of us in Holistic Health & Wellbeing circles well know, the Mental Physical Emotional and Spiritual bodies all work in harmony and synchronously with each other.  So where ever this is “something going on” in the physical body, there will also be “something going on” in the other 3 bodies that correspond to some degree. 

So, in short, It can be very useful for people with long term chronic allergies, who have “tried everything” and feel they are at their proverbial wits end with their particular allergy, but haven’t thought of addressing this in the scope of a different perspective. 

You’ll first want to book an online consultation, so you can have a chat with our practitioner about your particular case, to make sure it’s going to be a good effective option you, and then take it from there.


Consultations are ONLINE on Mondays.  If you would rather have an In-Person consultation with Eileen in her therapy room at Heanor on a Friday, then please contact her direct her via our Acorn Office to arrange.


Homeopathic remedies can be used to help improve your body’s resilience to the pathogens that trigger your allergy, and boost your overall vitality.  There are more than 40 specific homeopathic remedies to help with Hay Fever so, since these can significantly reduce your susceptibility to hay fever, this may also be a provide you with an additional avenue to explore.


To find out more about Jadwiga’s other services, visit her official website here ComplementaryMedicineClinic


Allergy Caution according to the National Health Service UK

This blog represents the author’s experiences and views on HAYFEVER only, and does not diagnose. The NHS online resources brings attention to the following Red Flags list of allergy symptoms that are useful to be aware of in the event of other sorts of allergic reaction that require emergency NHS attention: Red Flags for allergies

#seasonal_rhinitis #hayfever #allergies #antihistomine #side_effects #integrated_health #holistic_health #ENT #ear_nose_throat #pollencount #mind_body_medicine #naturalhealth #louisehay #mindbodymedicine #lifestylemedicine #honey #pollen #perennial_allergic_rhinitis #hopi_ear_candling #thermo-auricular_therapy #pollen count  #pollen calendar


AllergyUK (2024) Hay Fever

AllergyUK (2024) Pollen-Calendar-download

NHS (2024) Hay Fever @NHS.UK

NHS (2024) AntiHistomines

NHS (2024) Testing Allergies – NHS (

eileenstrongcoaching (2024) Thermo-Auricular_Therapy (2024) How do antihistamines work?

Gut Feelings: Hypnotherapy’s Surprising Impact on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Therapies Posted on Mon, March 25, 2024 01:28PM

by Sally Race

Do you ever feel like your stomach is staging a rebellion against you? If you’re one of the many dealing with the discomfort of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the answer is probably a resounding yes. But fear not – the power of hypnotherapy might just be the key to calming the storm in your belly.

Understanding the Gut-Brain Connection:

Believe it or not, your gut and brain are in constant communication. When stress or anxiety strikes, your digestive system can respond with a flare-up of IBS symptoms. Enter hypnotherapy, a mind-bending (literally!) technique that taps into the gut-brain connection, helping to ease IBS symptoms.

Backed by research:

Picture this: You, comfortably reclined, as a soothing voice guides your mind through a landscape of relaxation. It might sound like an odd prescription, but studies show that hypnotherapy significantly reduces IBS symptoms. A study published in the *American Journal of Gastroenterology* found that participants who underwent gut-focused hypnotherapy reported sustained improvement in symptoms compared to those relying solely on traditional treatments.

Tips to Tame the Tummy Turmoil:

1. **Mindful Munching:** Slow down and savor your meals. Chew thoroughly, and give your gut the chance to process without feeling rushed.

2. **Breathe Away the Bloat:** Deep belly breathing isn’t just for yogis. It’s a simple but effective way to calm your nervous system and reduce IBS-related stress.

3. **Hypno-Healing:** Consider hypnotherapy as part of your toolkit for managing IBS symptoms. Find a certified hypnotherapist trained & experienced in IBS techniques for best results.

Hypnotherapy: Not Just Hocus Pocus:

While the idea of using hypnotherapy for gut issues might sound a bit whimsical, the scientific evidence speaks for itself. It’s not about swinging pendulums or making you cluck like a chicken; it’s about empowering your mind to positively influence your gut health. So, if your stomach is tired of being the unruly class clown, maybe it’s time to introduce it to the calming magic of hypnotherapy. Because when your gut feels good, the rest of you can’t help but join the party!

Spring Equinox: A spiritual renewal

Workshops & Classes Posted on Tue, March 12, 2024 12:44PM

by Anne-Marie Allen

Can you feel it? That subtle shift in the air, the whisper of change rustling through the trees? It’s the Spring Equinox, and wow, is it a magical time! It’s also one of my favourite times of year so let’s kick back, grab a cup of tea, and have a friendly chat about the spiritual significance of this enchanting season.

First things first, what exactly is the Spring Equinox? Well, it’s that moment when the day and night are in perfect harmony, when the sun crosses the celestial equator and we begin to daydream of warmer days ahead. It’s like nature hitting the reset button, offering us a fresh start, a clean slate to work with.

How awesome is that?

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – why is the Spring Equinox such a big deal spiritually?

Picture this: nature, after a long winter’s nap, stretching its limbs, yawning awake, and bursting forth with new life. It’s a powerful reminder of the cycle of rebirth and renewal that’s woven into the very fabric of existence.

And guess what? We’re part of that cycle too!

The Spring Equinox encourages us to shake off the cobwebs of winter, both literally and metaphorically. It’s a time to declutter our physical spaces, sure, but also to declutter our minds and hearts. Let go of what no longer serves you – old grudges, self-doubt, that ratty old sweater you’ve been holding onto for years. Make space for new growth, new opportunities, and new adventures.

But wait, there’s more! The Spring Equinox is also a time of balance and harmony. Just like the scales tipping ever so gently between light and dark, we’re reminded to find equilibrium in our own lives. Work hard, play hard. Hustle, then rest. Give, and receive. Finding that sweet spot where everything feels just right – now that’s the real magic of the equinox.

Let’s not forget about gratitude. Oh, sweet gratitude, how we love thee! The Spring Equinox is the perfect time to count our blessings, to pause and give thanks for all the beauty and abundance that surrounds us. From the blooming flowers to the chirping birds, from the warmth of the sun on our skin to the laughter of loved ones – there’s so much to be grateful for, isn’t there?

Gratitude is at the very foundation for attracting more good things to be grateful for in to your life!

And finally, the Spring Equinox is a time of intention-setting. What do you want to cultivate in your life? What seeds do you want to plant, both literally and figuratively? Take some time to reflect on your dreams and desires, and then set some juicy intentions for the months ahead. Whether it’s starting a new project, deepening a spiritual practice, or simply finding more joy in everyday life – the world is your oyster, my friend!

Join me and Eileen on the 20th March for our monthly healing circle we’ll be planting seeds embedded with our intentions and goals for the next few months!

Planting seeds embedded with goals is like sowing the intentions of our dreams into the fertile soil of possibility, nurturing them with faith and perseverance until they blossom into beautiful manifestations of our desires. It’s going to be such a special night I hope you can join us !

Energy healing techniques such as Reiki are great ways to help you let go of anything that no longer serves you this spring such as old grudges, self-doubt and old beliefs as well as helping to bring balance into your life, while raising your vibration and attracting more good into your life!

So, there you have it – isn’t the Spring Equinox a wonderful time of year. It’s a time of renewal, balance, gratitude, and intention-setting.

So let’s embrace the magic of this season, let our hearts be light, and our spirits soar as high as the springtime sky.

5 Beginner-Friendly Yoga Poses

Workshops & Classes Posted on Tue, March 12, 2024 12:26PM

by Connor Levai

Yoga serves as a pathway to self-discovery, connecting body, mind, and spirit. For beginners, embarking on a yoga journey can be both exhilarating and daunting. However, integrating grounding poses into your routine can alleviate any apprehension and foster stability and tranquillity. Grounding yoga poses anchor you to the present moment, fostering a sense of inner peace and steadiness.

Here are five beginner-friendly yoga poses perfect for cultivating grounding and centeredness:

  1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose): Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, forms the basis for numerous yoga postures. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, firmly rooted into the ground. Engage your thighs, lift the chest, and roll the shoulders back and down. Inhale deeply as you extend your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Feel the earth’s energy coursing through your body. Hold the pose for several breaths, elongating the spine and grounding like a mountain.
  2. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose):Warrior I embodies strength and confidence while fostering grounding. Step one foot back at a 45-degree angle, ensuring the front knee aligns with the ankle. Ground through the outer edge of the back foot, connecting with the earth. Extend the arms overhead, palms facing each other, and gaze forward. With each breath, deepen the pose, embracing the stability and strength it provides.
  3. Balasana (Child’s Pose):Balasana, or Child’s Pose, induces relaxation and introspection. Begin by kneeling on the mat, big toes touching and knees wide apart. Sit back on your heels and fold forward, extending the arms in front or resting them alongside the body. Gently touch the forehead to the mat, surrendering to the earth’s support. Close the eyes, focus on the breath, and release tension, embracing the grounding sensation of the present moment.
  4. Vrksasana (Tree Pose):Tree Pose enhances concentration, stability, and rootedness. Start in Tadasana, shifting weight onto one foot and lifting the opposite foot to place the sole against the inner thigh or calf. Gaze at a focal point and bring the palms together at heart center. Feel the connection between foot and leg, grounding like the roots of a tree. With each breath, find balance and stability in the pose.
  5. Savasana (Corpse Pose):Savasana, the ultimate relaxation pose, integrates the benefits of practice and fosters complete groundedness. Lie flat on the back with legs extended and arms resting alongside the body, palms facing up. Close the eyes, allow the body to sink into the mat, and release tension. Embrace the support of the earth, grounding and nurturing. Stay in Savasana for a few minutes, surrendering to the stillness and serenity of the moment.

Incorporating these grounding yoga poses into your practice cultivates centeredness, stability, and connection to self and surroundings. Remember to listen to your body, breathe deeply, and approach each pose with mindfulness and intention. With dedication, you’ll cultivate a sense of groundedness extending beyond the mat and into every facet of life.

You can experience these exercises firsthand in my regular yoga class, held every Thursday evening at Acorn Natural Health Centre.

For inquiries or further information, feel free to reach out.

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