Acupuncture for Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal or year round allergies, you know how frustrating and disruptive it can be to your daily life. Maybe you have a constant runny nose or sinus congestion leading to frequent sinus infections and antibiotics. Maybe your child is struggling with constant nasal congestion or asthma and you hate the idea that they’ll be on medications for the rest of their lives. Maybe you dread spring and the constant eye itching, sneezing and runny nose that the season brings, even while on allergy meds.

Luckily acupuncture is an effective and natural solution that can prevent and treat allergies. Unlike antihistamines, steroids and decongestant medications, acupuncture for allergies provides natural relief while improving your immune system and getting to the root of the problem.

Unlike antihistamines, steroids and decongestant medications, acupuncture for allergies provides natural relief while improving your immune system and getting to the root of the problem.

Acupuncture has a strengthening and balancing effect on your immune system, so it’s an excellent choice for both preventing and treating allergies (1). Acupuncture for allergies reduces the inflammation associated with allergies and provides a natural antihistamine effect, without the nasty side-effects of pharmaceuticals (1). Acupuncture has also been shown to significantly increase nasal air flow and decreased nasal obstruction in patients with chronic nasal congestion and sinusitis (2). Several studies and reviews suggest that acupuncture improves quality of life for allergy sufferers and is an effective treatment for nasal allergies, as well as asthma and skin allergies (3-5).

In Chinese Medicine, allergies are often caused by a weakness in what we call Wei Qi, or defensive Qi. By strengthening your Wei Qi, you develop a stronger more protective immune system and a less over reactive one, thereby eliminating or reducing allergies.

Many of our patients, who are coming to us for help with allergies, feel immediate relief during their acupuncture treatments. Their nose opens, sinus pressure is relieved, headaches disappear, cough or wheezing is reduced and post-nasal drip is lessened.*

Seasonal allergies are best treated by starting acupuncture the season prior to the onset of allergy symptoms. For example, if you have spring allergies, then it is best to start getting acupuncture during the preceding winter months. If you suffer from fall allergies, then acupuncture treatment should start during the preceding summer months. In this way seasonal allergies can often be totally eliminated. If you missed the prevention window, then acupuncture and herbal medicine can be used as a natural and safe way to treat sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose and sinus congestion.

Those with severe or year round allergies, leading to nasal allergies, asthma or skin rashes, will often do best with acupuncture combined with herbal medicine starting at any time. Over time, we have been able to assist many patients in totally eliminating the need for their allergy or asthma medications. Though this is not usually a quick fix; it is indeed possible.

Many of our patients, who are coming to us for help with allergies, feel immediate relief during their acupuncture treatments. Their nose opens, sinus pressure is relieved, headaches disappear, cough or wheezing is reduced and post-nasal drip is lessened.* After their treatment, they are usually sent home with a custom herbal formula that can further reduce or eliminate congestion, headaches, post nasal-drip, coughing, wheezing and skin rashes and help support 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 nasal allergies. Research suggests that these herbs can reduce inflammation and mucous secretion, relieve nasal obstruction and have antibiotic properties (6). When combined with additional herbs that treat the unique symptoms and constitution of each person, these herbs support your immune system and address the underlying cause of allergies and sinus congestion.

One patient recently asked me during their acupuncture treatment, "Where does all the congestion go?" Acupuncture for allergies 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. The bottom line is that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine create balance within your body so that your body is better able to heal itself, naturally.

  1. McDonald JL, Cripps AW, Smith PK, Smith CA, Xue CC, Golianu B. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture and Their Relevance to Allergic Rhinitis: A Narrative Review and Proposed Model. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:591796. doi:10.1155/2013/591796.
  2. 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.
  3. Lee MS; et. al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review. 2009 Apr;102(4):269-79
  4. Brinkhaus B, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Roll S, Linde K, Pfab F, Niggemann B, Hummelsberger J, Treszl A, Ring J, Zuberbier T, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Feb 19;158(4):225-34. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-4-201302190-00002
  5. Bettina Hauswald and Yury M. Yarin. Acupuncture in allergic rhinitis: A Mini-Review. Allergo J Int. 2014; 23(4): 115–119. Published online 2014 Jun 21. doi:  10.1007/s40629-014-0015-3
  6. Chen JK; Chen TT. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. 2001. Art of Medicine Press: CA. pgs. 61-66.
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