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One of the most satisfying conditions to treat in the acupuncture clinic is seasonal allergies, as they tend to respond so well and quickly to acupuncture treatment. With the weather getting warmer, its natural to want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, but for many, the symptoms of spring allergies can really hinder our enjoyment of this lovely season. Known as allergic rhinitis, allergy symptoms can include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy, red, and/or watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, headache, and fatigue. The symptoms are due to an overactive immune system responding to airborne particles such as grass, weeds, and pollens, and resulting in inflammation and swelling in the nasal mucosa. This swelling can inhibit the proper drainage of the nasal passages, and in turn lead to sinus infections.
Chinese Medical treatment of allergies seeks to provide symptomatic relief to the patient, while identifying and addressing the underlying factors which are at the root of the condition in order to prevent its reoccurrence. According to Chinese Medical theory, the acupuncturist determines which system is imbalanced and then utilizes acupuncture treatments to correct the individual presentation of disharmony. The systems the acupuncturist targets are responsible for the healthy functioning of what is known as wei qi in Chinese Medicine. Wei Qi is our defensive qi, similar to the immune system of Western Medicine. It protects the body from airborne pathogens, and is rooted in the kidneys, supported by the spleen, and dispersed and circulated along the exterior of the body by the lungs. A problem in any of these systems can contribute to allergies. For example, typical western dietary and lifestyle habits such as too much sweets and dairy products, too much cold food and drink, excessive worry, and inappropriate or overuse of antibiotics all damage the spleen, making one vulnerable to allergies. If weakness in the spleen is coupled with constitutional weakness in the lungs and/or kidneys, it becomes more likely that allergies will manifest.
The good news is that acupuncture is highly effective at addressing both the symptoms and underlying causes that accompany allergies. It is not uncommon for patients to experience significant relief of allergy symptoms after just one treatment, and a course of treatments can strengthen the system to make it more resilient to these types of problems resurfacing in the future. The other benefit of Chinese Medical treatment of allergies is that it affords these benefits without the side effects which come along with conventional Western Medical treatment and which many patients find unacceptable.
To Your Good Health and Happiness,
Andrew Macfarlane L.Ac