Acupuncture therapy may help you feel better if conventional treatment methods have failed in helping your manage allergies. Many allergy sufferers have found success using this alternative method to address their seasonal symptoms.

Acupuncture and Allergies

Acupuncture is a form of treatment that originated in ancient China and has gained popularity in the United States in recent years to treat an array of health problems, including chronic allergies. The technique is performed by sticking thin needles into pressure points around your body in an effort to re-adjust the energy flow and help achieve a more balanced state.

Is Acupuncture for Allergies Effective?

To date, there's lack of concrete data to back up the effectiveness of acupuncture for allergies, in large part because it's difficult to measure the results and to test them against a control group in any meaningful way. Nonetheless, as long as sterile needles are used, this method comes with few side effects, so if your doctor gives you the okay, you can try it for yourself without taking any serious risks. Just make sure the acupuncturist you're considering is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

What to Expect

Exactly what to expect from acupuncture will depend on the style and preferences of your practitioner, but many acupuncturists will treat allergies using a two-part process. First, the professional will need to diagnose the cause of your allergies by identifying areas in your body that are out of whack. This will help her determine where to focus her attention.

The second part of the process is to stimulate certain pressure points with acupuncture needles. (Some western acupuncture treatments substitute lasers instead.) While the concept may seem off-putting at first, most patients report that this isn't painful, although there may be a deep ache or tingling sensation when the needles reach the pressure points. You'll usually need to lie with the needles inserted into your skin for about 20 to 30 minutes in order to achieve optimum results.

The Benefits of Acupuncture for Allergies

After a few visits, the experts say that you'll probably feel an improvement in symptoms. But exactly how long this takes can be a very individual thing and will depend on your health history and specific situation. It's also important to remember that this approach isn't effective for everyone. While you wait to find out if this works for you, you'll still need to continue avoiding your triggers and using allergy medications to control your reactions.

Many acupuncturists also use herbal medicines in conjunction with acupuncture therapy to achieve faster results. The best way to protect yourself is to always check with your allergist before taking any alternative herbal treatments since this method could trigger a reaction.




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"Tests and Procedures: Acupuncture." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 11 Dec. 2009. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.