Western medicine offers limited relief to allergy sufferers. Many reference books encourage patients to stay away from the offending allergens for life. Dr. Frank K. Kwong, for example, describes a comprehensive cleaning program to rid the home of dust mites, pollen and other inhalant allergens. It may seem like a full time job to keep a home that clean. What about those of us who like to leave our homes occasionally?
A variety of medication options can provide some relief from itchy eyes, runny nose, sinus headaches, scratchy throat, coughing, skin rash, swelling of the lips and tongue, abdominal cramps, ear popping and fatigue caused by allergies. However, these are no cure, so many patients turn to complementary and alternative health care.
Acupuncture appeals to many Western patients, as well as Asians, because of its excellent safety and tolerability. The cost is reasonable as well. The English language medical literature is beginning to report positive results for acupuncture in treating allergies.
The references below include four medical journal articles with favorable reports of acupuncture in treating allergy. The authors are affiliated with the following medical centers:
1. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York
2. RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
3. New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey
4. Olive View – UCLA Medical Center, Sylmar, CA
All report that further research is needed to confirm the results of small studies. Acupuncture is often used in combination with other treatments, such as antihistamines and decongestants, for allergies.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institute of Health, conducts and supports research on treatments that are considered outside of conventional western medicine. Their Web site provides detailed information on acupuncture. Many conventional physicians and dentists practice acupuncture and other clinicians are licensed by the states to practice acupuncture, usually in combination with Chinese herbal medicine.
My observation is that response to acupuncture is highly individual.