Traditional use of acupuncture for seasonal allergies
“Preventive medicine” has been making a buzz in recent decades and more and more people are taking heed, but traditional Chinese medical practices have been revolving around this concept of “treating an illness before it manifests” for thousands of years. In relation to helping combat seasonal allergies, ancient practitioners have this to say: that the best time to treat illnesses of the summer is during winter, and the best time to treat illnesses of the winter is during summer.
Contaminants in the air are the main culprits that cause seasonal allergies. Allergies appear because the body considers these contaminants harmful, though others may not consider the contaminants as such. Prime among these would be pollen during spring and autumn. These seasonal allergies severely affect nearly 30 million Americans. Millions more affected to a milder but still cumbersome degree. The symptoms they have to battle through include allergic rhinitis; itchy nose, eyes, and palate; watery eyes and nose; and difficulty breathing, among others. A large amount of money each year goes to the purchase of medicine and treatments, but most of these only deal with the symptoms.
Acupuncture seeks to deal with the underlying reason that the body is susceptible to allergens. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that chronic allergic reactions represent the body’s reduced ability to adjust to changes in its environment precipitated by the often-abrupt turning of the seasons. It believes, then, that the best way to strengthen the body against these unavoidable environmental changes is to do it when the need for that strength is still far off. In other words, months before the triggering seasons roll in.
Recent research about acupuncture for seasonal allergies
A recent study about acupuncture’s effectiveness for helping manage seasonal allergies produced some very interesting results. The 422 participants who have this condition were divided into three groups. One group received 12 acupuncture treatments plus antihistamine medication when necessary. Another group received 12 “sham” acupuncture treatments wherein needles were also inserted, but over points that had no real relevance to their condition. The group also received antihistamine medication when necessary. The third group, meanwhile, served as controls and only took antihistamine medication.
Two months after receiving the treatments, all groups were asked about how their symptoms have improved (if they did) and how much antihistamine medication they had to take. Those who had undergone actual acupuncture treatments reported a need for fewer antihistamines. Their symptoms were considerably less severe compared to the other groups. However, even the group that received the “sham” treatment reported fewer symptoms and less medication taken. This suggests that there may have been a placebo effect contributing to the improvement.
More research on this matter is necessary. This result may mean that untargeted acupuncture can also have a positive effect when it comes to improving conditions, not just seasonal allergies.
How acupuncture for seasonal allergies works
As stated before, the best way traditional Chinese medicine could help with seasonal allergies is by taking the preventive approach. This often means that acupuncture wouldn’t be the only modality involved; the acupuncturist might also prescribe herbal remedies as well as suggest changes in diet. During an acupuncture treatment, the main objective would be to restore the balance of energy within the body that may be contributing to a weakened immunity against allergens. Ideally, this would simultaneously address not only the symptoms of seasonal allergies but also the possible underlying causes.
But even when the allergy is already underway, acupuncture could still offer considerable measures of relief by helping ease inflammation and reduce stress, which may be contributing to the condition. Acupuncture would induce the release of chemicals in the body, including natural painkillers and mood boosters.
About acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic
Here at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, we believe in preventive care and wellness. We also believe in tailoring traditional Chinese medicine’s modalities to suit each individual patient’s condition. This way, we can help them in the best way possible.
The clinic’s owner and lead acupuncturist, Tram Pham, L.Ac., is a proponent of the Balance Method of distal healing, which she learned under its Master and pioneer, the late Dr. Richard Tan. This system of acupuncture focuses heavily on holistic healing, which means it doesn’t just seek to treat the main ailment, but also its root cause. Tram is also an herbalist and operates the clinic’s Herbal Pharmacy. Our Pharmacy boasts an extensive stock of medicinal powders, teas, pills, and herbs.
Contact us to set a consultation appointment, which Tram can also conduct through a phone or video call. We also offer the service of sending prescribed herbal remedies through mail if you live far from the Santa Barbara area.