Millions of dollars are spent by our country each year on allergy medications and other methods of dealing with seasonal allergies. Meanwhile, the prevalence of seasonal allergies is increasing in part due to exposure to irritants (chemicals in our lawns, scented soaps, etc.), lifestyle habits (lack of exercise, fatigue, stress, vitamin deficiencies, etc.), and an increase in air pollution. These stressors trigger an excessive immune reaction to allergens that are normally harmless, the most common of which are pet dander, ragweed, pollen, dust mites, and chemicals.
In most cases, allergies are seasonal, but there are some which are active year-round. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but the most typical are:
Itchy eyes, palate, and/or nose
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges acupuncture as an effective source of relief for certain respiratory conditions such as seasonal allergies, asthma and sinusitis. What’s more is that acupuncture has also shown to be an effective preventative measure for seasonal allergy symptoms. In fact, many patients experience relief during the initial appointment, when asked to rate their level of congestion before, during, and after treatment. This can be attributed to one of the beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine–that the body’s struggle to adapt to its environment is manifested as an allergic reaction. With this in mind, it's the allergic person who is treated and not the allergies themselves being treated.
By stimulating the corresponding acupoints, acupuncture relays a message to the immune system and nervous system in an effort to calm the dramatic response to the allergens. Through this process, the body’s regulating mechanisms are prompted to start transporting substances that influence the release of histamines as well as the body’s inflammatory and immune responses. Even when the symptoms haven’t begun yet, this process strengthens and balances any disharmony. This is why acupuncture treatment for allergies can be both therapeutic and preventative.
After the initial treatments, patients are encouraged to return for follow-up treatment as often as they find it necessary. Acupuncture can be very successful as a standalone treatment, but it is also frequently used to supplement other treatments such as medications, herbs, and injections.