If you live in Dallas this is no surprise to you, but Dallas is known as an allergy capital since it has 3 wind currents that “dump” allergens on us. Many patients see me to help with their allergy symptoms and I have observed that acupuncture can often help alleviate their symptoms. Often they take or need standard medication such as anti-histamines, nasal steroids or even allergy shots.
I find that the symptoms improve even more when acupuncture is added to their standard medications than just with medications alone. The following study also showed what I had observed over the years in using acupuncture to treat allergic rhinitis or hayfever that it does help relieve symptoms when added to standard care.
In November 2008, a study was reported in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Volume 101. This involved looking at 5327 patients with allergies to see if adding acupuncture to their standard care had any benefit. The acupuncture group had up to 15 sessions in a 3-month period. “The conclusion: The results of this trial suggest that treating patients with allergic rhinitis in routine care with additional acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits.”
In Chinese Medicine (CM) allergies can be a combination of imbalances such as the lung channel allowing wind or cold in and causing a runny nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes. There is often a problem with the “spleen energy” causing more phlegm to be formed. Sometimes the “liver energy” is also out of balance causing worse symptoms. Western medicine works to stop the histamine and inflammatory reaction locally. It doesn’t resolve the other problems associated with allergies from a CM viewpoint. Adding Acupuncture can help rebalance the other components of allergies rhinitis and help the patient feel better.
Acupuncture studies have shown that acupuncture does influence the immune system cells such as T-cells, immunoglobulins etc. It increases or decreases the immune system response depending on what is needed. This is called homeostasis. If the cells need to be increased as in pneumonia the antibody cells increase. If the body has too much immune response as in rheumatoid arthritis it will decrease the immune response. In allergies, acupuncture can help modulate the immune response along with Western medications.
Many of my patients report they feel better when acupuncture is added to their care for treatment of allergies. They have fewer symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, mental fog (which is often a complaint of allergy patients). They have more energy and just overall feel better.
K Bynum, DO