Environmental and Seasonal Allergies and Acupuncture
Environmental allergies are all too common today. Ever wonder why they are occurring? In this blog post I take a closer look at what is going on that is causing your allergy symptoms of congestion, asthma, cough, and more. There is much research showing the efficacy of acupuncture in reducing allergy symptoms and improving quality of life.
In the simplest sense, an allergic response is a set of reactions by your body to a foreign invader. This is an important response to external substances that may cause disease, infection, and illness. But when your body is responding to every day, non harmful substances it causes an issue. Your immune system makes antibodies and histamine is released to counteract the foreign invader. Histamine and other substances trigger the common allergy symptoms of sneezing, wheezing, congestion, itchy and watery eyes.
According to a Quest diagnostics research report, allergies are increasing, with ragweed and mold allergies increasing the most. They link an increase in allergies to climate change and longer pollen seasons. Another interesting finding was ‘the allergy march’. This is a disease progression, where one allergy leads to many more later in life. The report found that our area, Philadelphia, was the 6th worst city for allergies in the U.S. (1)(Allergies Across America).
With all this information you may be wondering what is one supposed to do? Allergies are increasing and if you have one you are more likely to have more. Standard medical protocol for allergy treatment involves diagnostic testing (blood work, skin pricking) so that known allergens can be avoided. Treatments involve antihistamines, which work to block the histamine receptors, decongestants, which work by narrowing blood vessels and decreasing inflammation, IgE inhibitors, which bond to excess IgE in the body from the allergy response, steroids, which reduce inflammation, and allergen-desensitization therapies and immunotherapy, such as allergy shots, where you gradually build up tolerance to allergies.(1,2)(Allergies Across America) (WebMD). Besides the allergen desensitization therapies, the other treatments are treating the symptoms, not the issue of the allergy occurring in the first place. These medications can also cause unwanted side effects. Next, is some natural approaches used to treat allergies and allergy symptoms.
Natural Approaches to Treat Allergies and Allergy Symptoms:
Neti-pot- use a saline solution to clear out the nasal passageways of allergens.
Avoid the allergens
Pollen is at its highest between 5-10am (don’t spend time outdoors during this time)
If you find out what you are allergic to it is easier to avoid.
Keep your house clean, wash clothes after being outside, remove shoes when you go inside, keep filters in A/C unit clean.
Watch what you eat.
If you have certain environmental allergies your body can also develop an allergic response to certain foods with similar proteins. This is called Oral Allergy Syndrome. People may experience itchiness, tingling, swelling of the lip, mouth and throat with Oral Allergy Syndrome.
Birch pollen allergy is associated with: apple, almond, carrot, celery, cherry, hazelnut, kiwi, peach, pear, plum
Grass pollen allergy is associated with: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomato
Ragweed pollen allergy is associated with: banana, cucumber, melons, sunflower seeds, zucchini(3)(Oral Allergy Syndrome)
Eat a plant-based diet. Avoid meat, sugar, processed food, and other inflammatory foods.
During allergy season cook your fruit and vegetables so you do not have an allergic response to them or the pesticides used on them.
At high allergen count periods avoid spicy foods which can trigger the release of even more histamine.(4)(Everyday health)
Strengthen your digestive system. The respiratory and digestive system are our connection to the outside environment. When the digestive system is weak it influences the entire immune system. Take probiotics or eat fermented foods to strengthen your gut and immune system. If you have leaky gut or any intestinal disease, consider removing wheat from your diet.
Drink green tea, a natural anti-histamine.
Use essential oils.
Create an essential oil steam bath. Use peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and/or lavender, put a couple drops in just boiled water in a bowl and cover the back of your head in a towel while breathing in the mist.
Here is a guide for using essential oils for children (also for adults) https://naha.org/naha-blog/aromatherapy-for-seasonal-allergies-in-children.
Do not use harsh cleaning or gardening chemicals. Avoid Roundup.
Acupuncture and acupressure
Do a daily acupressure facial massage when you wake up to increase circulation and decrease puffiness of face.
Get acupuncture done before and at the beginning of allergy season.
Try an allergen reduction / elimination technique with a trained practitioner.
Acupuncture Reduces Allergies
There are many evidence based research studies showing the efficacy of acupuncture for reducing allergy symptoms and sensitivity. A clinical trial in Germany showed that acupuncture treatments reduced the use of antihistamines in people with allergic rhinitis (5)(Impact of Acupuncture on Antihistamine Use). Another study on allergy induced asthma and acupuncture found, “the use of acupuncre as adjunct to the routine care of allergic bronchial asthma was superior to routine care alone in improving both specific symptoms and general quality of life.” The study performed up to 15 acupuncture treatments in a total of three months and found that the treatments has lasting results that extended beyond the length of treatments(6)(Acupuncture Relieves Asthma Attacks).
At Red Panda Acupuncture we have many tools to treat allergies and reduce symptoms and sensitivities (branch and root of the problem). We offer acupuncture, allergy reduction treatments, cupping, and gua sha. The general treatment plan for environmental allergies is treatments two times a week for two weeks then weekly for two weeks and then reassessing. We offer special package rates for allergy treatments. After the initial treatments tune-ups are needed seasonally or annually. As shown in the above study acupuncture has lasting affects that go beyond the treatment period, making it very cost effective.
Allergies are on the rise, now is the time to start analyzing what is causing your allergy symptoms and to use natural approaches that have long-lasting results. Please contact me if you have any questions and if you are ready to start your treatment.
All the Best,
Kearney DeFillipo L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
Red Panda Acupuncture