If you have ever suffered from dizziness, you know how profoundly it can affect your life. Whether from Meniere’s disease, auditory nerve damage, high or low blood pressure, or an inner ear infection, severe dizziness can leave you pinned to one spot due to a fear of falling or aggravating your symptoms.
While a number of health condition may cause you to be dizzy, not all dizziness is the same. The severity of symptoms can run the whole gamut from disabling to mildly annoying. People who suffer from vestibular (inner ear) problems may describe their dizziness as the sensation of the whole room spinning, or vertigo, accompanied by severe balance problems. However, someone who has low blood pressure may feel temporarily light headed when they stand up. To make things worse, dizziness may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sweating, and even fainting.
According to the principles of Chinese medicine, dizziness is usually classified as some kind of wind. Wind is a tricky pathogen, in that it tends to move around (making you dizzy). It usually affects the upper part of your body, much like the wind outdside, and its effects are intermittant, just like strong gusts on a windy day. In Chinese medicine, wind is frequently the diagnosis not only in cases of dizziness, but also with tremors, some headaches, numbness, high or low blood pressure, and even itchy skin conditions.
The root cause of wind is almost always a deficiency of some vital substance in your body, such as Qi, Blood, or Yin. For example, anemia is considered a Blood deficiency in Chinese medicine and is a common cause of mild dizziness or light-headedness. Another example is a depletion of your body’s moistening and nourishing Yin, which can cause dizziness. In this case, your body is like a farmer’s field that has dried out to the point where the smallest breeze will make the dust rise.
Whatever the root cause or depletion, Chinese medicine has a lot to offer to effectively treat dizziness. The best known treatment is acupuncture, which involves the insertion of tiny needles into your body to stimulate healing. Also effective for dizziness is scalp acupuncture, Like it sounds, scalp acupuncture entails needling acupuncture points on your scalp to affect brain function, and can be used for neurological conditions. In many cases, Chinese herbal medicine—the use of a specific formula for a specific condition—can be effective, too.
Some dietary and lifestyle changes that you may try to help your dizziness include:
-Skip the cocktails. Alcohol is a neurotoxin, is dehydrating, and can aggravate your symptoms.
-Avoid hot, spicy foods, as the heat can actually make your dizziness worse.
-Avoid caffeine for the same reason.
– While you’re avoiding alcoholic drinks, be sure to drink enough water, especially in hot and dry climates or in dry indoor heating.
-Try mild physical activity to relieve your symptoms.
-When you’re dizzy, focus on a single fixed point. This gives your brain more visual information to calm the dizziness and help you keep your balance.
-Get up slowly. This is helpful for those of you with low blood pressure, as well as those who suffer from inner ear problems. By rising slowly, you give your body and brain time to catch up with the change of position
-Review your medications. Dizziness or light headedness can be a side effect of a wide variety of drugs. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the meds you’re taking could be causing your dizziness.
-In all cases, see your doctor if your dizziness is accompanied by chest pain, rapid heart beat, numbness, or blurred vision.