Getting the Most Out of Acupuncture: Seasonal Allergies

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Many of my patients have seasonal allergies. Sometimes the allergies are just a minor annoyance, other times they really interfere with the person’s daily life. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be helpful for many allergy sufferers, even if they have tried a number of different treatments (like prescription medication, homeopathy, etc.) without results.

If you experience severe allergies, there are several things you can do to increase the likelihood that your acupuncture treatments will be successful. Below are some of my top recommendations.

· Scheduling acupuncture treatments: It is always best to begin treatment before allergy season. For people with year-round allergies, you can start treatment at any time, but preferably before the season that is worst for you. Plan to start acupuncture treatments once a week for 2-3 months (depending on the severity of your symptoms) before your allergies normally begin. During allergy season, increase your treatments to twice a week, if necessary.
· Nasal rinse: For almost all of my patients with allergies, I recommend that they use a neti pot nasal rinse. This can be helpful even if you don’t generally have sinus symptoms because the nose is the way most environmental allergens enter your system. Neti pots are a safe, natural product (just like acupuncture!). To be effective, neti pots need to be used regularly during allergy season. You can find them in most drug stores. Neti pots are not the same as nasal mists, which only moisturize the sinuses without getting rid of the allergens. Experiment with the level of salt you use in the net pot, to find what is comfortable for you. Many people find that it is easier to use their neti pot in the shower.
· Chinese herbs: There are several herbal formulas that can help with seasonal allergies. Jade Windscreen is a formula that needs to be started several months before allergy season to be effective. It helps to prevent allergies rather than just treating the symptoms. There are also short-term herbal formulas that can alleviate nasal congestion and itchy eye symptoms temporarily. Some formulas I carry in the office, others can be special ordered.
· Food journaling: If you have food sensitivities, they can make your seasonal allergies worse. Foods like dairy and citrus can be mucus-producing in some people. Other foods are relatives of common allergens (for instance, the apple family and birch family are related) and may set off allergies. By keeping a food diary where you track what you eat along with your symptoms, you can get a sense of which foods are triggers for your allergies.

Now you know how to get the most out of acupuncture for seasonal allergies. The time to start treatment for spring allergies is now, before the pollen begins. Contact us to make an appointment.

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