Running noses, scratchy throats, irritated eyes, and immense pressure in the head and face all describe a common ailment: allergies. We spend a lot of time and energy on trying to manage the symptoms of allergies with medications and shots, but often we are left wanting.
Acupuncture is gaining popularity for treating seasonal allergies, as there are several acupuncture points that affect the immune system. Allergies are caused by an over-reaction of the immune system to an irritant, resulting in excessive inflammation and discomfort. One of the most common symptoms would be pressure in the face and head due to the inflamed sinuses. Traditionally, acupuncture uses a system that involves specific pathways of skin points that produce a response in the body. Because these pathways usually align with important nerves, vessels, and muscle connections they give a neurovascular response when the points are stimulated. This is how stimulating a point on the hand can give a distant response to help someone with chronic headaches.
A lot of these types of chronic problems are being treated with acupuncture, such as chronic pain, allergies, asthma, and even addictions. Because of the results with acupuncture, more and more physicians are incorporating it into their treatment protocols. We utilize electrical acupuncture to treat many conditions such as headaches, neck pain, and back pain. However, because we live in Overland Park, KS we see a lot of cases of seasonal allergies.
Acupuncture for allergies typically gets quick results, even with relief in the first visit. I’ve had many patients describe our allergy treatment as “opening the floodgates”. Like chiropractic care, acupuncture is a cumulative treatment where the visits build on each other to provide more and more relief.
So what does a typical acupuncture treatment for allergies look like?
The first thing we do is use gentle chiropractic adjustments on the neck to ensure the spine is moving properly. This is especially important if you also get neck stiffness or pain and also suffer with allergies. Your sinuses do not have any pumps, so drainage happens mainly with gravity. If the neck muscles are tight or the vertebra in your neck are immobile, then it can limit your sinus’s ability to drain. A warm, dark and wet place is the perfect environment for repeated sinus infections, which is why your spine plays a vital role in allergy treatment.
The next step is needle-less acupuncture. Electrical acupuncture is modern, painless and quick compared to traditional needles. Specific points are used on the ears, face, hands, and elbows for the treatment of allergies. The points we use will vary based on the individual, as all acupuncture and chiropractic treatments are specific to the person. Certain points will give relief and stimulate draining. Other points are used to reduce inflammation, such as around the eyes or chest. We also find points that will address the over-reaction from the immune system to help with long-term allergy relief.
In some cases of severe allergies that need additional acupuncture treatment, we use small patches called “acupatches” that remain on the body to give continual relief and treatment. Your acupuncturist will determine if these are necessary.
Acupuncture for allergies is becoming so popular that even your primary care physician will recommend it as an option for treatment. Because there are no medications involved, there are also no side-effects and this makes acupuncture a safe treatment for allergies.
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