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Acupuncture and Allergies

Let’s talk about Allergies . . . The change of seasons can be an enjoyable time, especially as winter turns to spring and activities turn to the great outdoors! For some, however, seasonal change is thing to be dreaded. Seasonal allergy, also known as allergic rhinitis or “hay fever,” is very common since nearly everyone either experiences it personally or knows someone who suffers from its effects. While the beautiful aspects of nature can be a definite trigger, nature’s less attractive side (i.e. dust mites, molds, animal dander) plus other unnatural offenders such as pollutants in our environment can also trigger a dramatic allergic response. Searching for anything to relieve the often-debilitating symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itching eyes, sneezing, cough (and many others), people turn to allergy shots or prescription medication. What many unfortunately discover is that allergy shots are unpleasant and the side effects of allergy medication, even some over-the-counter medicine, are oftentimes far worse than the allergy itself. How can acupuncture help? Allergies are essentially an exaggerated reaction of the body’s immune system to otherwise harmless substances, collectively referred to as allergens. Acupuncture works to regulate the immune system’s response to allergens. When symptoms occur, there is a blockage of the flow of energy through the body. By stimulating specific points along the energy pathways, acupuncture helps restore balance to the immune system as well as all the other systems of the body in a holistic way. What can I expect during treatment? During treatment for allergies, points on the face, head, and upper body are used more frequently in order to focus on the areas most commonly affected. For this reason, symptoms such as sinus headache, watery eyes, and clogged or painful ears (in addition to the symptoms listed above), can also be alleviated. Each treatment is very relaxing! How many treatments are needed? The efficacy of acupuncture is cumulative in nature. Though it can minimize symptoms after one treatment, it is not a quick “fix” for allergies--especially when the triggers and offenders are always present. A long-term treatment regimen is therefore necessary in order to continue to support the immune system and minimize the effects of continued exposure to allergens. For this reason, we recommend twice-weekly visits for a total of eight treatments followed by monthly maintenance visits over a period of a year, in order to effectively cycle through the seasons. It is important to note that each person responds uniquely to treatment. Factors that contribute to the overall effects include duration and severity of one’s symptoms, age, and general health. It is our goal at Health & Wholeness to help allergy sufferers experience quality of life—an active life free of symptoms and less dependent on medications! Theresa L. Spradlin, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM) Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist – Health and Wholeness, Arlington, VA

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