Spring is officially here and the telltale sights and sounds of the start of the allergy season have also arrived. You may have noticed during the last few weeks people blowing their noses more often, having red eyes and puffy pouches around their eyes.
These symptoms are not due to colds. They are allergy symptoms. The allergy season is officially upon us and people are now faced with the yearly decision they must make. How do they want to treat their allergy symptoms?
The majority of people will utilize over the counter (OTC) medications. For those that prefer pills, most people will choose among Claritin®, Zyrtec®, or Allegra®. For those that prefer to go right to the source and use nasal inhalers, most people will chose among Nasacort® or Nasonex®.
All of the over the counter medications have some side-effects. Some of these side-effects are more tolerable than others. The biggest complaint about some of the OTC medications is that they make you sleepy. And for the nasal inhalers, these may cause bleeding in your nose as well as a dry cough.
As reported in cnn.com, time.com, and other websites, acupuncture has been used in testing to determine definitively whether it can help allergy sufferers. The general consensus is that acupuncture can in fact help people who suffer from seasonal allergies.
How does acupuncture help allergy sufferers?
Acupuncture needles, which are very thin needles primarily made from stainless steel, are inserted into specific points around the nose. An acupuncturist may also insert these needles into specific points in the forehead and between your eyebrows. When performed by a licensed acupuncturist who has been practicing for years, there is absolutely no pain.
Once inserted, the acupuncturist will twist the needle a bit to make sure that they inserted correctly. The treatment typically lasts anywhere from 20-45 minutes and will relieve an allergy sufferer’s nasal congestion. Some acupuncturists will recommend a twice per week treatment until their patient starts to feel some relief.
Most patients will feel relief after only the first treatment. This includes the ability to breathe easier due to the sinuses becoming unblocked, relief from any headache, and a reduction or elimination of wheezing.
An acupuncture treatment can provide immediate relief to most allergy sufferers. However, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor will also recommend taking specific Chinese herbs to make a patient’s system stronger and to further reduce the effects of the allergens.
Even though Chinese herbalists have a very extensive inventory of Chinese herbs that they can provide to patients, many TCM doctors now prescribe Chinese herbs in pill form. These pills look like tiny black balls and are typically taken twice a day in quantities ranking from 5-10 pills per dose.
How does a traditional Chinese doctor treat allergies vs. a western doctor?
Western doctors will either prescribe one of the OTC medications listed above or one of the prescription strength medications. These are very specifically intended to provide relief of the patient’s symptoms.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dictates that the cause be addressed and not simply the solution. The TCM method is to treat the whole person so that there are long-term benefits.
A traditional Chinese doctor will look at your overall health condition, diet and lifestyle and then start their treatment based upon their findings.
TCM doctors have known for many years that there is a direct correlation between diet, lifestyle, and overall health. These doctors may identify in some patients that their diet is a major contributing factor to why some people are so adversely affected by pollens and other allergens.
If you are one of the many who need some type of relief from your allergies, and you cannot tolerate the side-effects of the medication that you have been taking, acupuncture may be the solution you are looking for.