Acupuncture Can Help with Allergies
Seasonal allergies typically occur in the spring or in the fall. During this time of year, pollen is carried by the wind, affecting approximately 50 million Americans, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Those who are allergic to pollen are often allergic to animal dander, mold, dust mites and ragweed as well. No ethnicity, sex or culture is protected against allergies.
Within only a few moments after exposure to an allergen, a person may begin experiencing itchy eyes, stuffy nose, congestion, headaches, wheezing, cough, sneezing and itchy sensations in the mouth and back of the throat. These symptoms may be severe enough to reduce a person’s sense of smell or taste and disturb their sleep.
There are many medications that can treat the symptoms of an allergic reaction; however, these medications often come with unwanted side effects, including drowsiness, dry mouth or dry eyes. If you suffer from allergies and would like to reduce your symptoms naturally, acupuncture can help. Let’s take a look at what allergies are and how acupuncture can help improve your seasonal allergies.
What Are Allergies?
Seasonal allergy, or hay fever, occurs when the immune system becomes confused. When the body is exposed to an allergen, the immune system is activated and histamine is released in the body. This histamine causes a number of symptoms, including itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, sinus congestion, asthma, coughing and even diarrhea. The immune system releases IgE antibodies that attach to white blood cells (mast cells) that are located in the upper respiratory tract, the skin and lining of the stomach. When these cells are stimulated, an allergic reaction occurs.
Western Approach to Allergies
There are a number of medications that are used to ease the symptoms of allergies. Antihistamines block the histamines produced by the immune system. However, these medications often cause drowsiness and dry mouth. In addition to medications used to treat the allergic response, Western medicine emphasizes avoid or eliminating allergens or using desensitization. Avoidance may include air filtration systems, plastic sheeting on beds and upholstered furniture, the removal of all carpeting, etc. Another approach is desensitization, where small amounts of allergens are injected into the patient in increasing doses to help neutralize the number of antibodies present.
Acupuncture and Allergies
Acupuncture focuses on improving the way the immune system functions by reducing stress and inflammation and promoting the overall health of the individual. This natural therapy does not use any type of medications and has been proven effective. Oftentimes, the sufferer will see immediate improvement after the first treatment, according to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
Treatment plans for allergy relief vary depending on whether the focus is prevention or acute symptom relief. Chinese Medicine regards allergic reactions as a manifestation of the body’s inability to adjust to its environment. It is believed that a weakness in the lung or liver can cause the allergic reaction. In addition to this, other systems, including the spleen and kidney can influence the chronicity and severity of the allergic symptoms.
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles under the skin at specific locations on the body to help rebalance the body’s life force and natural energy. When these needles are inserted, the body secretes endorphins and other chemicals in the body to improve circulation and immunity. There are specific points for reducing histamine reactions. There are local points for relieving congestion and helping to drain the sinuses as well as distal points for reducing cough and moistening the Lungs. During a session, you will sit or lie comfortably while the needles are placed. During insertion, you may not feel anything or you may experience a moment of discomfort. Then, you will be asked to rest for a little while.
By stimulating the lungs, liver, spleen and kidney, the severity of your chronic seasonal allergies may be relieved. In acupuncture, it is believed that the systems of the lungs are the first organs to come in contact with an allergen. When this system is weakened, the body is vulnerable to allergens. The liver helps the body to adapt to its environment, when this is compromised, symptoms appear as a response to the allergens. Stimulating these systems helps to calm the allergic response and relieve symptoms. Once the symptoms have been relieved (the acute period) of allergen acupuncture, preventative acupuncture is used to strengthen the body and support the immune system to function properly. This portion of the treatment reprograms the immune system to accept an allergen without causing an allergic reaction. The effects of the acute period of acupuncture provide short-term relief of the symptoms and the preventative period of acupuncture provides long-term relief and prevention of future allergies.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to relieve allergies. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., a recent study was done by researchers in Germany. Four hundred and twenty-two people who suffered from pollen allergies were divided into three groups. The first group received acupuncture and were allowed to use antihistamines as needed. The second group received sham acupuncture treatments and were allowed to use antihistamines as needed. The third group was only given antihistamines to relieve their symptoms. The study found that 71 percent of patients in the study who receive the real acupuncture had an improvement of their symptoms and did not rely as heavily on antihistamines to relieve their allergies.
If you are ready to relieve your allergy symptoms while improving your immunity call us at 571-529-6699 to schedule an appointment with our licensed acupuncturist
Acupuncture is an excellent way to reduce or eliminate the need for medication and reset the immune system. For best results, you will need to undergo several acupuncture sessions to maximize the effectiveness of acupuncture for allergies.