Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:00 am

If you are one of the approximately one-fifth of Americans suffering from seasonal allergies, you may be spending more time indoors than out. While over-the-counter medications often come with unwanted side-effects, acupuncture does not. This makes it a welcome alternative for people looking for a new way to combat allergies this season.

While many over-the-counter remedies promise symptomatic relief, acupuncture works by addressing the causes of allergies, treating the whole person, and focusing on balancing the immune system for substantial long-term health benefits in managing allergies.

Diagnosing an allergy using traditional Chinese medicine is far more individualized than it would be with Western medicine. Allergies are analyzed by the pattern of symptoms seen in the specific patient, and the treatment is designed to relieve these particular symptoms. Acupuncture treatment consists of stimulating specific points (with needles or laser) on the body to change or initiate reactions inside. In the case of allergies, treatment targets the immune system, where allergic reactions begin.

In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 – without side effects. A second study of 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

“Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors,” states James Dillard, MD, clinical advisor to Columbia University’s Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

For seasonal allergy sufferers still suffering with traditional Western medical treatments, or weighed down by unwanted side effects like drowsiness, may find relief in acupuncture.

By DR. WENDY CUNNINGHAM

Originally posted on the CDA Press

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