Allergies are, at their core, an imbalance in the immune system—an imbalance suffered by roughly 15% of the world’s population. While a healthy, balanced immune system will respond by attacking truly harmful bacteria and viruses, an allergic immune system will flare up at things that are not inherently harmful: plant pollens, animal dander, molds, certain food proteins, etc. Traditional antihistamine allergy drugs work by blunting the immune system so that it reacts less to these otherwise harmless irritants. What these drugs do not do, however, is actually correct the imbalance in the immune system—if the imbalance itself can be corrected, then there would be no need for the drugs. Fortunately, several recent scientific studies are showing that acupuncture can help allergy sufferers.
A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that there were statistically significant improvements in people who underwent acupuncture for their allergies over those who relied on allergy medicines or who underwent “fake” acupuncture treatments. Those in the study who underwent true acupuncture reported that they were able to reduce their reliance on antihistamine drugs and that their bouts of runny, stuffy noses, itchiness and fatigue also decreased.
While the exact mechanisms behind how this ancient Chinese medical treatment works are still not fully understood, the researchers believe that acupuncture stimulates anti-inflammatory responses that counteract the inflammatory reaction of the histamines that are released when an allergic person encounters one of their allergens. Although the studies to date have been small in number, they have shown promising results that warrant further study into how acupuncture can help allergy sufferers bring their immune systems into a better state of balance.
Allergy sufferers who have struggled to find relief in the conventional ways might well consider contacting a reputable, licensed acupuncturist that can address the immune system imbalances that aggravate their allergies.
McDonald, John L. et al. “The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture and Their Relevance to Allergic Rhinitis: A Narrative Review and Proposed Model Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 591796, 12 pages
B. Brinkhaus, M. Ortiz, C.M. Witt, S. Roll, K. Linde, F. Pfab, B. Niggemann, J. Hummelsberger, A. Treszl, J. Ring, T. Zuberbier, K. Wegscheider, and S.N. Willich.“Acupuncture in Patients with Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. A Randomized Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 19 February 2013 (volume 158, pages 225-234).