Fifty million Americans suffer from allergies and 30 million Americans suffer from chronic sinus congestion. For those that find little relief from standard pharmaceutical and surgical treatments there is still hope. For more than 3,000 years, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has been used to support the immune system and reduce nasal congestion, sinus congestion and other allergy symptoms.
A 2009 pilot study published in the The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy reports that acupuncture significantly increased nasal air flow and decreased nasal obstruction in patients with chronic nasal congestion and sinusitis (1). Another study published this year in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reviewed the current research on acupuncture for the treatment of nasal allergy symptoms and suggests that acupuncture is an effective treatment for symptoms of nasal congestion due to year-round allergies (2).
Most of our patients that are coming to us for help with allergies or sinus problems feel immediate relief during their acupuncture treatments.
Most of our patients that are coming to us for help with allergies or sinus problems feel immediate relief during their acupuncture treatments. Their nose opens, sinus pressure is relieved, headaches disappear and post-nasal drip is lessened. After their treatment, they are usually sent home with a custom herbal formula which further reduces phlegm and congestion, eliminates headaches, reduces post nasal-drip and supports their immune system.
Herbs such as xin yi hua (magnolia flower bud), cang er zi (cocklebur fruit) and bai zhi (angelica root) are often found in formulas for sinus and nasal congestion. Research suggests that these herbs can reduce inflammation and mucous secretion, relieve nasal obstruction and have antibiotic properties (3). When combined with additional herbs that treat the unique symptoms and constitution of each person, these herbs support our immune system and address the underlying causes of allergies and sinus congestion.
One patient recently asked me during their acupuncture treatment, "Where does all the congestion go?" Acupuncture not only opens the nose and sinuses and allows the congestion to drain but it also reduces inflammation and supports the immune system thereby reducing the production of phlegm. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine create balance within our bodies so that our bodies are better able to heal themselves, naturally.
Treating chronic allergies and sinus congestion usually requires a series of acupuncture and herbal treatments as well as proper diet. It is important to reduce or even eliminate sugar and dairy from your diet if you suffer from nasal or sinus congestion. We provide each patient with detailed and customized nutritional suggestions as part of their course of treatment. Working together with you as a team, we'll help you start feeling better than ever!
Sertel S; et. al. Am J Rhinol Allergy. Acupuncture for nasal congestion: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical pilot study. 2009 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print]
Lee MS; et. al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review. 2009 Apr;102(4):269-79
Chen JK; Chen TT. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. 2001. Art of Medicine Press: CA. pgs. 61-66.