According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 26 million Americans endure chronic seasonal allergies, while the number of people with milder symptoms may be as high as 40 million.
Seasonal allergies are caused by the body’s hypersensitivity to substances in the environment. Symptoms primarily involve the membrane lining the nose, causing allergic rhinitis, or the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the whites of the eyes, causing allergic conjunctivitis.
While there are many Western medications to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, these treatments can cause unwanted side effects such as drowsiness and immune system suppression as well as an over-reliance on medications. These side effects have motivated many people to search for alternative approaches like acupuncture and Oriental medicine to manage their allergies.
According to Oriental Medicine, allergic rhinitis is related to Wind and a deficiency of the protective Wei Qi. Wei Qi is the energy that flows at the surface of the body as a protective barrier and is responsible for resistance to colds and other respiratory infections. People with a deficiency of Wei Qi catch colds easily and are more susceptible to allergens.
When treating with acupuncture, underlying imbalances within the body are addressed and a treatment plan is developed to relieve the acute symptoms of allergic rhinitis while also treating the root problems that are contributing to the body’s reaction to allergens. Treatments often include dietary modification, the use of specifically chosen herbal formulas, and acupuncture.
Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year also serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor imbalances before they become serious problems. If you experience seasonal allergies, March is an ideal time to schedule an appointment.
Michael A. Sassack is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist serving the northwest suburbs of Chicago.