According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States and cost the healthcare system $18 billion annually. About half of all Americans test positive for at least 1 of the 10 most common allergens, including grass, ragweed, and mold.
As a lifelong allergy sufferer, I can tell you the day spring has officially begun. It has nothing to do with the calendar. Or even the temperature outside. Rather, it is the first time my eyes begin to water uncontrollably. While not the most scientific form of season prediction, for someone with seasonal allergies it is quite accurate at announcing the arrival of spring.
I am allergic to everything that grows and breathes. Trees, grass, flowers, pets, dust, all of it. As such, I have taken daily allergy medication for the majority of my life. Despite receiving allergy shots for many years, I still need prescription and over-the-counter medicine to manage the symptoms during peak allergy seasons. While conventional treatments do help most of my allergy symptoms, they aren’t sufficient to stop the sinus pain, headaches and general malaise—not to mention the drowsiness, dry mouth, and other side effects of medication.
To help with the allergy symptoms that medication doesn’t fully address, I use acupuncture.
Acupuncture for Allergies
Acupuncture is a surprisingly effective treatment option for both the management and prevention of allergy symptoms, and, unlike prescription and OTC medications, causes no side effects. A study conducted by Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013 found that allergy severity was significantly decreased in test participants receiving acupuncture in additional to rescue medication. The placebo group who received “sham” acupuncture (needles placed at insignificant points), also reported improved symptoms over the control group that only received rescue medication.
How Acupuncture for Allergies Works
Just as with any form of acupuncture treatment, acupuncture for allergies works to correct imbalances in the body’s pathways of energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), many allergies are a result of imbalances in the spleen, kidney or lung meridians—pathways of Qi flow. Stimulation of specific acupuncture points along those meridians, promotes rebalancing. This helps the body to combat hay fever and allergy response better. The immune response is decreased.
From a more conventional standpoint, acupuncture reduces pain and inflammation. Needles placed at specific trigger points (also known as acupressure points) stimulate blood flow and reduce inflammation at the treatment site. Sinus pressure and pain is greatly reduced.
In order to determine acupuncture treatment points, your acupuncturist must diagnose where imbalances in energy flow are located. Traditional methods of diagnosis include tongue and pulse analysis to identify Qi imbalances. When it comes to treating allergies with acupuncture, this accurate diagnosis is important for achieving both quick and lasting results. For my allergies, the challenge was in addressing my sinus headaches.
After every treatment, my sinus headaches, fatigue, and allergy symptoms were markedly reduced within a short period of time. On many occasions during my twenty-minute acupuncture sessions I could feel the pressure in my sinuses reduce after just a few minutes!
“I couldn’t believe how quickly my sinuses started to clear. I hadn’t ever thought of having Dr. Kramer treat my allergies with acupuncture, but it worked! I was so happy to have relief from the sinus pressure that we added in to my regular acupuncture treatments.” -Stevi R.
Acupuncture can provide lasting relief from allergies by bringing the body back in balance to prevent and minimize allergic reaction. Both short- and long-term relief can be achieved through regular treatments. During peak allergy seasons treatment will be focused on managing symptoms, whereas during lower-allergen times different acupuncture points may be stimulated to strengthen the body’s areas of weak energy flow. Dr Kramer works with patients to create customized treatment plans to provide immediate and lasting relief from their allergies.
For more information please contact Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa at (309)693-9600 or online at www.ExperienceSenara.com.