Allergies have become a common problem in modern society and the number of people suffering from them seems to be steadily increasing. In Canada, that would be one in five people who suffer from some form of allergy. The increasing number of allergies is often associated with increased air pollution and exposure to certain chemicals. However, we must not underestimate the influence of an inappropriate lifestyle (poor diet, lack of physical activity, stress, fatigue, etc.) that pushes our immune system out of balance.
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to a normally benign substance. The substances that cause allergic reactions are called ‘allergens’. The main allergens are: pollen, ragweed, animal hair, dust, dust mites, as well as some chemicals.
Allergies are often seasonal, but can occur throughout the year. The main symptoms are itching, tingling of the palate, throat, nose and / or eyes, a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion and breathing difficulties.
The conventional approach to allergies is to avoid allergens and to inhibit or reduce the immune responses that cause the symptoms. Among the most common drugs are antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer an effective and natural alternative without side effects to treat allergies, whether seasonal or present year-round. The treatments aim to strengthen the immune system and restore the balance of different systems and organs in the body. To maximize the results of treatments, Chinese herbs will often be combined with acupuncture. In the acute phase, the treatment will be aimed at relieving the symptoms of allergy. When symptoms are under control, the treatment will focus on prevention by regulating the immune system.
Acupuncture has a proven track record in the treatment of allergies, rhinitis and asthma. Several studies attest to the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of allergies, including one published in the European Journal of Allergy and Immunology in 2004, and another in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Pediatrics). WHO (the World Health Organization) also classifies seasonal allergies, as well as asthma and sinusitis, in pathologies of the respiratory system that can be effectively treated with acupuncture.