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What are natural remedies to seasonal allergies? Does acupuncture help?

By January 13, 2009 - 1:13pm
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A friend of mine has had reactions to allergy shots, as she is asthmatic and had some trouble breathing afterward (nothing too serious, but enough to make her question). I personally have weekly allergy shots, and they have worked wonders for me!!

She is looking into other solutions, and told me she was reading about acupuncture as a possible treatment for allergies. Has anyone done this? Can you share your experience, both negative and positive? Does insurance cover this type of "alternative treatment", and how long does the positive effects last? If it matters, she is in her early 40s and is severely allergic to molds.


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Tina, I love the phrase "deliciously disoriented," and it makes me want to try acupuncture just for that feeling!

Free2Bme, you might be interested in this Bastyr Center for Natural Health article on acupuncture and allergies. It discusses a study published in Allergy in 2004 in which actual acupuncture and placebo acupuncture were given to allergy sufferers. The results are interesting:


and perhaps this article, which discusses allergies, respiratory health, and traditional Chinese medicine:


That page also has a function where you can search for acupuncture practitioners in United States zip codes, if that helps you.

January 14, 2009 - 9:30am

Hi Free2BeMe, How great you're advocating for a friend.

I've used acupuncture as a way to help me through allergy season.

According to my acupuncturist -- who trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine -- conditions that affect the immune system such as allergies stem from issues with the spleen. In addition to undergoing four acupuncture treatments, he recommended special tea that would help my spleen 'energy.'

I would say my overall experience was very positive. I did experience a few surprises, however. For example, I wasn't expecting the doctor to hook the tiny needles placed in my forehead and cheeks to an electronic stimulus device that caused a pulsing sensation. For about the first 10 seconds, I was uncomfortable (not in pain) but it was definitely a new experience for me.

I was also not expecting to have needles placed on all areas of my body including my feet, legs, (Uh, sir, my allergies are up HERE) stomach, arms, hands, behind my ears near my neck and as I mentioned in my face. It sounds intimidating, but once everything was removed, I felt phenomenal.

My experience was not covered by insurance at that time and the typical treatment was about $50.

While I did definitely feel some short-term relief from my allergies (especially in terms of fatigue), I noticed they resurfaced again during the autumn allergy season. I would say each session offered me some relief for four to seven days.

A few recommendations from my acupuncturist to help extend the benefits included receiving treatment 'before' allergy season started to help boost the immune system ahead of time. He also advised I go in for more than four treatments -- probably six or eight.

Also, a friend passed along a few tips that I found helpful. She recommended having someone go with me for a few reasons. I'm not a big fan of needles, so it was great to have someone hold my hand. Also, I felt so deliciously disoriented the first few times following my treatment, I don't know if driving would've been a great idea. Another recommendation that came to me via Twitter that I found helpful was to take an I-pod or ask the acupuncturist if he or she can play some soothing music for you. I wasn't able to wear my earbugs because of the placement of the needles, but he was nice enough to switch the office's radio station for me.

Hope that helps.

And if anyone else has heard of other natural remedies, I'm very interested in learning what they are as well.

January 13, 2009 - 4:21pm
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