In Chinese Medicine, allergic rhinitis as related to “Wind” noting that symptoms come and go rapidly, cause congestion, and make the person want to avoid windy situations. This Wind often coexists with a deficiency of the Defensive or Wei Qi. People with Wei Qi deficiency catch colds easily, and allergy symptoms may be particularly bad in the spring or fall, seasons which are generally windy.
The acupuncturist also looks for constitutional or more deeply-rooted signs in each person who presents with allergies. The principle here is treating the whole person. Often people with chronic allergies show signs of Spleen or Kidney Deficiency as well as Lung signs. The goal of the acupuncturist is to develop a plan which addresses the person’s acute symptoms and provides relief, while addressing the underlying immune system imbalance which is thought to be at the root of the person’s allergies.
When treated with acupuncture for allergies, there is often a quick response. Often patients get some relief during the first visit while lying on the exam table with their acupuncture needles in place. After an initial series of treatments, patients come in for further treatments on an as needed basis. Some patients come back in once or twice a year for a booster while others may come more often.
In general, patients do better if they avoid sugar and milk in their diets. They have better and longer lasting responses. Patients continue with whatever standard treatments they are currently undergoing while getting acupuncture treatments. Most patients end up significantly reducing or eliminating their dependence on allergy medications.
Treatments often include dietary modification, the use of nutritional supplements, and acupuncture.