Acupuncture for Allergies
“I came in initially because I am allergic to every flowering, pollinating plant on earth and heard acupuncture can be helpful for allergies. Did it help? A resounding yes! The herbs were also effective as well, which kind of surprised me. I like the TCM approach to dealing with allergies because it doesn’t dry out my sinuses as much as Claritin and Nasonex” – Stacy J.
Itchy, watery eyes
Post Nasal Drip
Why do allergies happen?
Allergies happen because our body’s defenses are lowered. And typically, it is in reaction to a certain offenders like dust, pollen, pet dander or certain flowers and trees. In Chinese medicine, we look at it in a similar way to colds and flus. There is something from the outside that’s attacking our body on the inside. We call them Outside Pernicious Influences (OPI), which is a way of thinking of allergens. Allergies affect the Lungs and our body’s Wei Qi (Defensive energy). When the Lungs and Wei Qi are weak, it is harder for us to fight off pathogens.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture can help by first, strengthening our body’s defenses and secondly, by fighting off the allergens and the symptoms they cause. Acupuncture and herbs will reflect this approach. If you have an acute condition, we’ll use different points to help with your symptoms.
Can acupuncture cure me of a food allergy*?
Acupuncture and herbs can help with some food allergies. If you you have a food allergy, you may have symptoms such as:
Hives, itching, or eczema
Nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, indigestion, or diarrhea
Wheezing, nasal congestion, or trouble breathing
Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
These are signs of food allergy that acupuncture may help with by building your immune and digestive systems. Acupuncture can also help with the abdominal pain and bloating associated with Celiac Disease (which is not an allergy) but it is is not a cure.
More severe food intolerances that produce symptoms of anaphylactic shock such as:
Swelling of the throat and difficulty swallowing
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
Blue color to the skin and nails
should be treated by going to the emergency room.
If I have seasonal allergies when and how often should I come for treatment?
If you know when your particular allergy season starts, set up an appointment for acupuncture a month before to help prepare your body’s defenses with acupuncture and herbs. We recommend treatments every two weeks to start with. After a few months, come in for monthly maintenance treatments.
Are there Chinese allergy pills?
Yu Ping Feng San is the basic Chinese immune formula. Cang Er Zi San is a Chinese formula for allergies and sinus problems. Pe Min Kan Wan is a version of Cang Er Zi San that is readily available in pill form. Denise may give you one of the above formulas, combine the above formulas or add herbs to them to fit your specific needs.
The importance of diet
A good diet keeps your immune system healthy and aids in fighting off allergens. A balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruit and some meat, along with advice from your acupuncturist about your body’s needs will help you stay healthy.
Things to avoid include processed sugars, white flours and white rice. It is also a good idea to limit your intake of fatty foods, alcohol and dairy. They lower your body’s defenses and leave you more susceptible to getting sick.
Denise will go over your current diet with you to see if anything you may be eating that will affect your allergies and she may ask you to keep a food diary to track your reactions.
*Special note for food allergies
Some of the herbs in Chinese formulas are also foods that you might eat. Please let Denise know if you have any food sensitivities such as wheat, gluten, shellfish or if you are a vegetarian and she will avoid herbs that include these allergens in your formulas.