Allergic Rhinitis

Hay fever is recognised by the annoying symptoms of watery nasal discharge, sneezing and itchy eyes and nose. Hay fever is actually a popular name for allergic rhinitis, a disease provoked by airborne pollen and other substances.

Allergic rhinitis is usually a seasonal phenomenon. People who allergic to tree pollen will develop symptoms from mid-March or early April. If they are allergic to grasses symptoms will appear mid-May or early June.

If a person suffers from allergic rhinitis year-round, the problem is being caused by dust, molds, animal dander, or some kind of chemical.

In Western medicine allergic rhinitis is caused by the release from histamine from mast cells in the nasal mucosa. This release is mediated by IgE and other substances. The reaction occurs in response to inhaling an antigen, the substance one is allergic to.

It is generally treated with antihistamines, decongestants, intra-nasal topical corticosteroids or cromolyn sodium.

With the exception of cromolyn sodium, none of these drugs are without side effects. Most anithistamines cause unwanted drowsiness, and those that don’t are very expensive. Nasal decongestants can actually result in a worsening of symptoms due to reflex vasodilation and they are in a sense addictive as you need to use more and more to get the original effect. Use of corticosteroids is relatively safe but excessive dosages may lead to adrenal suppression.

Acupuncture offers a natural and effective treatment of allergic rhinitis and free of unwanted side effects.

According to the Oriental diagnostic system chronic allergic rhinitis often results from an underlying deficiency of the energy of the Lungs. It can be treated in part by stimulating points on the lung meridian, some of which are near the wrist.

Although the symptoms of allergic rhinitis involve the nose, in Chinese medicine the nose is seen as an extension of the lungs.  When the lungs function normally respiration is normal, the nose is unobstructed and sense of smell acute.

When the energy of the lungs is strengthened the sensitivity to airborne allergens is greatly decreased and you will feel substantial relief from the symptoms.

Acupuncture is a holistic system of medicine so the whole person is treated, body-mind. Patients with deficiency in Lung energy often have that include general lassitude and fatigue, lack of spirit and apathy, spontaneous sweating and a propensity for catching colds.

Laboratory studies corroborate the traditional Chinese account of how allergic responses can be reduced or eliminated. They have shown hat after acupuncture the IgE level decreases which results in a decrease in histamine production. Acupuncture also seems to desensitise the nerves that would normally react adversely to the IgE-antigen complex.


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