Research tells us that acupuncture has been beneficial in treating a variety of conditions including high blood pressure, stress and anxiety, and headaches, just to name a few. And the good news is, you can add allergy symptoms to that list as well.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation recommends that doctors offer acupuncture to those patients looking for a drug-free treatment option for allergies. Anyone suffering from severe allergies knows the “brain fog” that can come from some of the medications prescribed for dealing with allergy symptoms. Acupuncture provides an effective and non-pharmacological option for patients.
The symptoms associated with allergies can be miserable and include swollen, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, allergic eczema, and conjunctivitis. When using acupuncture to treat allergies, several meridians can be targeted including the lungs, stomach, spleen and colon. Stimulating these points can restore qi, thus relieving the symptoms. A study by the Mayo Clinic explains that acupuncture works directly on the nerve fibers sending messages to the brain and influencing the autonomic nervous system to transmit signals within the body, which can stimulate the immune system.
What the Research Says
While more research certainly needs to be done, there are studies that suggest acupuncture is helpful in treating allergic rhinitis. For example, a 2015 review of 13 randomized-control studies of more than 2,000 participants found that those receiving acupuncture had a significant reduction in nasal symptoms and immunoglobulin E (defined as antibodies that are over produced in the body’s response to allergens)1. And acupuncture patients also had a reduction in the need to take medication to treat their allergy symptoms. Smaller studies also found acupuncture to be beneficial when compared to the use of antihistamines, but researchers acknowledge more studies need to be completed in this area.
It’s always important to speak with your acupuncturist directly about your specific symptoms as treatment plans will differ for each person depending the severity and type of symptoms. As a general assessment, typical allergy acupuncture treatments will involve weekly or twice-weekly appointments spanning several weeks or even months depending on the symptoms. Your acupuncturist can then determine if annual or semi-annual treatments are needed to maintain results.
In addition to your acupuncture treatments, there are other steps you can take to minimize your symptoms.
- Do a spring cleaning and clean out particularly dusty or moldy areas of your home like air vents, basements and attics.
- Stick to indoor activities to minimize pollen exposure
- Keep doors and windows closed.
- Take a shower to rinse off pollen after outdoor activities.
The root cause of allergies is different for everyone. Another option your acupuncturist might explore with you is to add herbal formulas to your treatment plan as this can greatly increase the efficacy of the treatments. Adding herbal formulas along with the traditional needle treatment can be an effective one-two punch for treating seasonal allergies.
As always, you want to talk to your acupuncturist about your specific symptoms. The symptoms of allergies can be debilitating and can definitely impact a person’s quality of life. If medication hasn’t worked for you, talk to an acupuncturist today about additional treatment options that might help to relieve your allergy symptoms.
Don’t wait, make an appointment with us today to see how acupuncture can help relieve your allergy symptoms!