This was the first question out of the mouth of a new patient in my office recently.
Her eyes were reddened and her voice revealed serious nasal congestion.
She looked exhausted. She had tried several medications with significant side effects without lasting benefit.
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years.
Hundreds of millions of people have been treated with this ancient technique throughout the world. It has been found to be
helpful for a wide range of ailments.
a growing number of Americans, acupuncture is an integral part of their healthcare. The patient that sat in my office had
read an online article about acupuncture treatment for allergies.
The article was written by a medical doctor
that uses acupuncture. The doctor was very positive about acupuncture’s benefit for many patients suffering with allergies.
In fact, the doctor had
found complete relief for her own allergies through acupuncture treatment. The research on acupuncture treatment of allergies
some research found that it was helpful for patients that experience chronic allergies to triggers such as cats, dogs, dust
or perfumes, while other studies found it more helpful for seasonal allergies triggered by specific plant pollens.
The research is likely mixed because acupuncture in
practice is a very individualized form of treatment.
Each separate treatment session is unique, intended to be appropriate for that individual patient
at that particular time.
research studies usually require that all patients receive the exact same treatment to control variables. Because of this
contradiction between research standards and real-life application of a treatment such as acupuncture, the research will always
be incomplete and limited in value.
my clinical experience, acupuncture can benefit some people immensely, while others may have a more modest response.
Overall, the majority of patients experience a very
favorable response. Acupuncture can sometimes bring about an immediate improvement in symptoms. In other cases it may require
a few treatments before a significant benefit is seen.
Exactly how it works in the body is still not completely understood. That is one of the fascinating
aspects of this unique form of treatment.
It is effective for a wide range of conditions. Research has demonstrated that it has specific effects upon
the nervous system, neurotransmitters and hormones.
Improved immune function is also possible.
During an acupuncture treatment, you will lie comfortably
on a table much like a massage table. The provider will take a medical history to learn what symptoms you may be experiencing
and get an idea of how well your body is functioning as a whole. A number of needles will be gently inserted into specific
The needles are
tiny. Surprisingly, there is usually no pain with acupuncture. Some acupuncture providers use only a few needles, while others
may use more than a dozen. The number of insertions can vary from one treatment session to another.
In modern clinics, only sterile, single-use, disposable
needles are used.
is very safe when provided by a well-trained, licensed provider. In some cases the needles will be removed after only a few
seconds, but it is common for the needles to be left in place for ten to thirty minutes.
Most new patients are surprised that the treatment is so relaxing and comfortable. Patients
may even fall asleep during the session.
Typically a series of sessions is recommended. In many cases it may require only six to ten sessions to resolve
a complaint. Chronic conditions may require a longer series of sessions. There are many treatment options available for allergy
growing in popularity due to the fact that no drugs are used and side effects are minimal.
Patients may feel fatigued
after an initial treatment, or in some cases they may feel a significant increase in energy.
Patients often ask if the benefits are lasting. This varies as well. Some patients may
need ongoing treatments while others have found, like the doctor that wrote the article, that their allergy problem resolves
and does not come back.