Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is a chronic inflammation of the sinuses, nose and throat. It is typically caused by pollens and other external irritants carried in the air. While grass pollen induces summer hay fever, autumn and spring hay fever are related to weed and tree pollen. Other air-borne substances that can produce an allergic reaction include molds, plants, dust, spores, and chemicals, among others.
These allergens, or air-borne substances, cause the body to produce antibodies which release histamine. Histamines cause allergic reactions which produce hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, nasal congestion, running nose, fever, headaches, chest congestion, asthma, and wheezing.
Decongestants, antihistamines, corticosteroid sprays, allergy injections, and bronchodilator inhalers are among the conventional medications that address symptom relief. However, these medications often cause side effects such as drowsiness and dryness of the nose and throat and do not treat the underlying imbalances that cause the allergies.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views the cause of allergies as an organ system imbalance. This imbalance can be caused by poor digestion, dietary choices, hormonal changes, and stress. Treating these organ imbalances with acupuncture often results in reduced itching, discharge and nasal congestion during the first acupuncture treatment. A series of six to ten acupuncture treatments often provides lasting relief of hay fever symptoms.
Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the body that influence the body’s own internal regulating system. Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities while improving biochemical balance and increasing energy.
From the TCM perspective, hay fever is diagnosed according to the patient’s condition, which is characterized as predominantly hot or cold. A patient with a hot type of hay fever may experience symptoms of red and inflamed eyes and a colored nasal discharge, while a patient with a cold type of hay fever may experience sensitivity to cold and a clear nasal discharge. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are tailored to treat the patient’s individual condition and constitution.
Acupuncture treatment for hay fever selects local acupuncture points, often near the sinuses. When stimulated, local acupuncture points open the congested area and strengthen vital energy, or chi, which results in improved overall health. Acupuncture effectively treats the underlying cause of the allergic condition as well as alleviating the symptoms.
Treatment for hay fever should begin a month before seasonal allergic symptoms typically occur. A course of acupuncture treatment for hay fever may be integrated with dietary and lifestyle modifications recommended by your acupuncture physician.
For more information about acupuncture for hay fever call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500. For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso. .