A Natural Approach to Seasonal Allergies

By Bill Reddy, LAc, Dipl. Ac.

The American Academy for Allergies, Asthma and Immunology reports that allergic rhinitis affects between 10% and 30% of all adults and as many as 40% of children in the US, and approximately 12% of Americans under the age of 45 suffer from chronic sinusitis. Common signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Stuffy, runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Red, itchy, and watery eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Itchy mouth, throat, ears, and face
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Headaches, facial pain or pressure
  • Partial loss of hearing, smell, and taste
  • Fatigue
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Our immune system is designed to protect us from external pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) to support our survival. However, with allergic rhinitis, our immune system mounts a defense against harmless substances such as pollen, dust or pet dander resulting in a histamine reaction, triggering the symptoms listed above. A common approach is to take an antihistamine to block your body’s reaction to the offending agent such as ragweed. Unfortunately, taking an antihistamine is dealing with the symptom rather than the cause. Once your blood concentration of the drug drops significantly, the symptoms return. Acupuncture, one of the oldest healing traditions used worldwide for a variety of conditions ranging from musculoskeletal pain to infertility and neurological problems such as stroke and parkinson’s disease works exceptionally for allergies and allergic rhinitis. A German study, published in 2008 titled “Acupuncture in Patients with allergic rhinitis: a pragmatic randomized trial,” concluded that acupuncture treatment resulted in clinically relevant and persistent benefits to those patients suffering from allergic rhinitis. The World Health Organization also recommends acupuncture for a number of respiratory and immune system conditions. The needles are four times the diameter of a human hair, made of stainless steel, and used once and discarded. There’s no chance of infection/disease transmission and acupuncture has been long been recognized as the safest and least invasive healing modalities on the planet, when performed by a licensed healthcare professional. You should breathe easy and have more energy. To find a properly trained practitioner in your area, go to www.NCCAOM.org and click on “Find a Practitioner.” Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Nov;101(5):535-43.

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