Acupuncture and Allergies

Itchy and/or red eyes
Itchy palate
Itchy and runny nose
Sneezing and nasal congestion (allergic rhinitis)
Difficulty breathing
Headache
Sinusitis
Welcome to the hay fever/allergy world!

With spring’s sunshine and flowers come wind and pollen, which for many people signals the onset of allergy season. Tree pollens are the most prevalent pollens in the spring and many trees are prolific pollinators. Grass and weed pollens follow in late spring and summer, and airborne mould spores can be found almost year-round, as well as other common allergens such as dust, dust mites, and animal dander.

WHAT ARE ALLERGIES?
Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an example of misplaced immunity. It is a learned response by the immune system wherein rapid physiological changes resulting in itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion and sneezing, asthma, and even diarrhea are produced. Typically, exposure to an allergen such as tree pollen elicits a massive release of IgE antibodies which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals including histamine which produce the allergic symptoms.

While many over-the-counter remedies promise symptomatic relief, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believe that addressing the causes of allergies, treating the whole person, and focusing on balancing the immune system leads to substantial long-term health benefits in managing allergies.

HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE HELP?
By stimulating the energy of the ‘Lung’ and by regulating the ‘Liver’ the acupuncture treatment aims to calm the exaggerated response to the allergens. When symptoms are not so present, the treatment will aim to balance and strengthen the identified TCM disharmonies that contribute to the problem. Acupuncture treatments for allergies are therefore a preventative and therapeutic aspect. It is recommended that patients consult before the season or onset of symptoms to obtain better results; But it is never too late to clear and strengthen the body.

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