Seasonal allergies, sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that happen during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
Symptoms of running nose, sneezing, and watery itchy eyes that recur during specific parts of the year are a cause of much suffering of a large segment of the population. A huge amount is spent on the treatment of seasonal allergies.
Western medicine views seasonal allergies as a form of immediate hypersensitivity reaction which occurs when anti-bodies produced by lymphocytes interact with airborne particles such as pollen. One sees an interesting overlap between Western and Chinese medical thought. Also, Chinese medical thought sees sweets as being harmful to the Spleen (Chinese sense of the Spleen) function. In practice, sweets are often a major factor in the persistence and intensity of seasonal allergy symptoms.
There is often a quick response when treating a seasonal allergy with Acupuncture. Often patients get some relief during the first visit with their acupuncture needles in place. Patients are asked to score their nose stuffiness on a zero to ten scale. Zero meaning no stuffiness at all and 10 being the worst possible stuffiness for the patient. A score may be determined before and after the acupuncture treatment. Patients can also determine the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment by tracking the number of sneezes per day and the number of itching episodes around their eyes. 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. I have seen many patients who failed medication and allergy shots respond to acupuncture. 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.
Prospective patients should speak with the acupuncturist and inquire about past experience in treating seasonal allergies and their success rate.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that acupuncture is an excellent treatment option for seasonal allergies.