Many patients come in and ask me, does Acupuncture treat seasonal allergies?
The short answer: YES!
The Long Answer: Acupuncture treats immune health, inflammation, red & itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and headaches. The key is sticking to weekly treatments and listening to your very wise Acupuncturist’s advice. I will usually have patients start weekly visits halfway through March (I am located in Massachusetts- it may vary depending on your location) and continue through April/May. For Fall allergies, starting mid-august through the end of October. Acupuncture works, but even better preventatively- you don’t have to suffer!
Outside of acupuncture, there are some other great modalities I’ve discovered and utilized over the years:
Honey can be used as a cough syrup and to reduce inflammation. It also contains trace amounts of flower pollen. Exposure to small amounts of allergens repetitively may reduce allergy symptoms. My favorite local honey is from Little Beehive Farm in Holliston, MA.
Neti Pots use gravity to filter saline solution through the sinuses, clearing allergens and cleansing the nasal passages. I recommend investing in a ceramic option, my favorite is from Himilayan Chandra, also available in-office! It’s totally safe to use the neti pot daily, usually at the end of the day to flush out allergens. If your nasal passages start to feel too dry, use it every other day instead.
Aller-C by Vital Nutrients is a supplement option that offers sinus and respiratory support. When taken daily, it can reduce allergy symptoms. Follow instructions, and talk to your local healthcare practitioner if you have questions or wonder how it would fit in your daily routine.
Eucalyptus, Green tea, peppermint & ginger tea help treat allergy symptoms including inflammation, sore throat, itching and redness. My favorite brands are Traditional Medicinals and Yogi. Add some honey for added support.
Get an air purifier
An air purifier can clear pollen, animal dander and other allergens from the air in your home. Keeping an air purifier running during the day and at night may help with allergies. Just make sure you remember to vacuum the filter weekly and change carbon filters every 3 months. My favorite air purifier that won’t break the bank here.
Yoga can help boost immunity and in particular, pranayama (or breathwork) can increase lung capacity and function. Start with a three part breath: sitting in comfortable seated position, break the inhale into three breaths. Start filling the chest, then fill the ribs, then the abdomen. When you exhale, start at the bottom and work your way up, engaging abdominal muscles at the end of the breath to release as much air as possible. Repeat 10-20 times.
Acupuncture supports lung function and boosts immunity. It helps prepare the body for allergy season by increasing Lung Qi (Lung energy) and grounding the system. It reduces inflammatory response and is a great alternative to medication.
Why can’t I just use over the counter medication?
Short-term affects of anticholinergic drugs (like Benadryl) include fatigue, dry mouth, brain fog and constipation. A study from the University of Washington found that long term use gave users an increased risk of dementia. Be aware of the risks of any medication and treatment, including the natural ones! Be an advocate and an educator for your own health.