It’s freezing outside, the ground is frozen and the trees are bare. It will be a few more weeks until we see any signs of life to hint that spring is coming.
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So why should you be worried already about allergy season? Because acupuncture can be an effective tool for allergy relief, but you have to get started now because the treatment takes some time.
Acupuncture for allergies: Get a head start
The key to fighting allergy symptoms is to get ahead of them. If you are thinking about trying acupuncture this year, start acupuncture therapy two months before the allergy season begins.
That means if spring is your worst season, it’s time to act now, before trees, flowers and weeds flood the air with pollen.
Complex biochemical mechanisms are responsible for our annoying seasonal allergy symptoms. The underlying principle of acupuncture is that it inhibits the body’s allergic response, but it takes time for the body to adjust and change. The process can take up to eight weeks for most patients to see optimal results, although everyone responds differently.
Why consider acupuncture for allergy relief?
The symptoms of spring allergies – watery, itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and coughing – leave you feeling less than your best. That can make it hard to concentrate and perform daily tasks, especially at work.
While allergy medications – antihistamines – are supposed to alleviate your symptoms, their side effects can leave some people feeling drowsy, dizzy or nauseous and cause headaches. If you’re already feeling crummy on the job, these side effects can compound the problem.
Acupuncture as an alternative to medication is a great way to avoid these negative side effects. Even if used in conjunction with medication, a combination therapy can at least lessen their impact.
A recent study on the effects of acupuncture on seasonal allergies published in the February 2013 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine looked into the debate over whether the ancient Chinese procedure helps or not. German researchers studied 422 people who tested positive for pollen allergies and found that those who received acupuncture therapy reported improved symptoms and a decrease in their antihistamine use.
What to expect during acupuncture therapy for allergies
If you decide to try acupuncture this season, here’s what to expect:
- Each treatment session lasts about an hour.
- Your first visit may take a little longer because the acupuncturist needs to perform a thorough evaluation to determine the right course of treatment for you.
- When you begin the actual treatment, your acupuncturist will place small needles across your entire body and leave them in place for about 30 minutes.