Hay fever

Hay fever

Acupuncture might just be the extra relief you have been looking for

What is Hay fever?

Hay fever, more accurately labelled allergic rhinitis, involves a host of annoying symptoms that can persist for weeks at a time. Typical symptoms include nasal congestion, a runny nose, itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, frontal headaches and fatigue. All of these symptoms are due to an immune response to airborne allergens. The most common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis are seasonal pollen's, fungal spores, dust and animals.

Conventional Treatments

Pharmaceutical medications typically used to control allergic rhinitis include decongestants, corticosteroids, antihistamines, and anticholinergic drugs. These drugs are designed to suppress the immune response to allergens, thereby alleviating symptoms. This can be a very useful strategy short term, however they do little to enhance the body’s ability to cope with environmental stressors.

Many of these drugs can have adverse effects, especially if used over long periods of time. Decongestants can dry out the mucosa and corticosteroids can cause skin to thin and dry. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness and fatigue.

 

Treatment with TCM

In our experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can offer effective relief of allergic rhinitis symptoms. The goal of treatment is to regulate the body’s immune system so that it doesn’t overreact to the irritants. When successful, it may be possible to reduce the use of pharmaceuticals, or even stop them altogether if they are causing annoying side effects. Talk with your GP when adjusting your prescribed medications.

 

According to TCM theory, there are many factors that will influence how reactive an individual is to the outside environment. Some very common presentations we see in the clinic are:

  • Poor digestion with a tendency to excess mucus production

  • Stress or an excessively busy lifestyle

  • A tendency to get sick often

  • Fatigue

 

If allergic rhinitis is a predictable seasonal problem for you, begin acupuncture treatment six weeks before the offending season. This will allow your body time to respond adequately to treatment, warding off the worst of the seasonal flare up. If you are in the middle of a flare up, rest assured that people often respond quickly to acupuncture for relief of symptoms.

Additional Reading & Research

The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture and Their Relevance to Allergic Rhinitis: A Narrative Review and Proposed Model

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586443/

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation via the Vagus Nerve

www.journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151882#sec012

Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26073163

Efficacy of acupuncture on moderate and severe allergic rhinitis.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26054141