What exactly is an allergy?

An allergy is defined as an immune response to an outside substance that causes the body to create inflammation or change organ function.

Allergic reactions can range from the mildly annoying (sniffles, stuffiness, itchy skin, eyes or throat) to the life threatening (anaphylaxis – inability to breathe, or severe throat swelling).

There a number of immune chemicals (like histamines) that are released in the body and cause the allergic response. Once you are “allergic” to a substance, repeated exposure creates more severe reactions over time.

An acupuncturist’s view of allergies

spleen in relation to other organs

Your spleen resides near your stomach and is involved with your lymphatic system.

We see allergies as coming from weakness in either the Spleen or Lung organ systems.

The spleen (part of the Western medical lymphatic system) is responsible for the transportation of foreign materials out of the body. The spleen plays a major role the digestion of foods, extraction of nutrients and the transportation and metabolism of fluids. When the spleen is weak, fluids and waste products can accumulate.

These abnormal fluids find their way to the lungs, where they collect as mucus. The body must cough, otherwise expel these fluids or somehow reabsorb them.

The weakened spleen means that re-absorption cannot happen efficiently and also create a lack of strength to push the fluids out. Weak lungs cannot move the fluids or the irritants out of the body, and they collect and continue to create inflammation.

What can acupuncture do for allergies?

In the short term:

Acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas  can decrease the amount of inflammation caused by an allergen. They can reduce the collection of fluids, drain damp and sticky sinuses and throats and alleviate the other symptoms of an allergy flare-up. Treatments can be devised to decrease itching, swelling and puffiness, too.

In the long term:

The best way to use acupuncture for allergies is to think long term. By correcting organ imbalances and strengthening function in the body future allergic reactions can be lessened or even eliminated. Your Acupuncturist will devise a strategy based on thorough investigation and diagnostics that addresses exactly the imbalance in YOUR body creating  YOUR allergy response. Once identified, the responsible organs can be supported and corrected using Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, dietary change, and lifestyle changes.

By addressing the root cause of the body’s inappropriate response to an outside substance, the immune system can strengthened to not overreact to those substances. A balanced immune system will have much less severe symptoms – or possibly none at all – when former “allergens” are encountered.

If you are an allergy sufferer, we encourage you to contact us and find out how acupuncture  can help you put the suffering and inconvenience of regular allergies behind you.