Acupuncture for Allergies IN Ottawa ON
What if the secret to allergy relief in Ottawa ON was in needles, not nasal sprays? If you are searching for allergy relief, acupuncture may be the life-changing solution you are looking for.
In many research studies, people with different types of allergies including eczema, seasonal allergies, food sensitivities, food allergies, drug allergies, environmental and pet allergies reported significant improvement in their quality of life after receiving acupuncture treatments for their symptoms.
Our team at Advanced Wellness Centre are trained in targeting relief from many allergies. We can even provide allergy testing upon request.
Acupuncture seeks to improve immunity through circulation of the body’s energy, so treatments for allergies are usually focused on the front of the body. By stimulating the Defensive Qi (Wei Qi) in this area, your body can naturally improve immunity and work to lessen the onset of allergic reactions.
Regular acupuncture treatments can naturally alleviate allergy symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Wheezing and breathing issues
- Puffy eyes
- Rashes, hives
Acupuncture can help reduce your allergies and manage your allergy symptoms. Not just spring allergies – but food allergies, pollen and mold allergies, skin allergies, and even some medication allergies.
For some patients, acupuncture treatments can be enough to relieve uncomfortable allergy symptoms like sneezing and nasal congestion. For patients who have mild allergy symptoms or whose allergies are primarily seasonal, acupuncture has been shown to reduce their symptoms.
Living with Different Types of Allergies
The first signs of spring are a welcome sight for most people, especially after a winter spent indoors. But the change of season also means the arrival of an unwelcome visitor: spring allergies. For most allergy sufferers, this means preparing for allergy season by stocking the medicine cabinet with nasal sprays and tissues and medications that make you drowsy, and maybe even allergy testing and shots.
Most people know the symptoms of acute seasonal allergies: itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and sneezing are common symptoms of seasonal allergies. For food allergies, it can be eczema, hives, digestive problems, brain fog, and even migraine headaches.
An allergy is when your immune system produces an antibody response to some substance, or allergen. The body perceives the foreign substance as a threat and manufactures antibodies to fight against it. Allergy treatment often first involves finding out exactly what allergens will potentially cause a reaction. Allergy testing helps determine what, specifically, is triggering the symptoms. Then, a person is encouraged to avoid this trigger, whenever possible. Many people try over the counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays to help manage their allergy symptoms. For more severe allergies, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids in various forms, and even Epinephrine injections (epi-pen) maybe necessary to stop severe reactions and prevent anaphylaxis.
Different types of allergies create different symptoms in different people. The ever-increasing amounts of food additives, chemical pollutants, and other triggers in the environment are causing more people of all ages to develop allergies.
Some allergies only show up at certain times of the year, when a particular pollen or other natural trigger is abundant, while chronic allergies can flare up at any time there is exposure to that allergen.
- Seasonal/Environmental Allergies – these are often referred to as “spring allergies,” or “hay fever,” or “pollen allergies.” These are triggered by natural pollens and irritants given off by trees, weeds, grass, flowers, mold spores, pet dander, and smoke. These types of allergies cause sneezing and runny nose (rhinitis), itchy, watering eyes, asthma, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing. Many of these allergies are inhaled, so a mask can be very beneficial, and changing filters in your home also.
- Skin Allergies – these include acute and chronic allergies like hives or rashes caused plants like nettle, poison ivy or poison oak that we all have, but also reactions to harmless plants, foods, and materials that cause hives, rashes, eczema, and contact dermatitis. They also include skin reactions to latex or nickel or wool or pet saliva. Eczema is a more chronic skin allergy condition, where inflammation causes itchy patches of skin that can become very dry and scaly. Some skin allergies start in childhood. Skin flare-ups can be caused by eating food allergens or being exposed to mold in your home. However, skin flare-ups often happen due to external irritants, like soaps or detergents, fragrances, fabrics, chemical ingredients in topical ointments or lotions, or smoke in the air. Stress is also a contributing factor to allergic skin conditions.
- Food Allergies – food allergies are especially common in children and are becoming more common every year. Certain types of nuts, dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, and shellfish are the most common food allergens. In some cases, food allergies are so severe that exposure can lead to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, an emergency situation in which blood pressure can slow down dramatically, and a person may have severe difficulty breathing. Many allergy sufferers with severe food allergies and a risk of anaphylaxis should carry an epi-pen for their safety at all times. Some food allergies take days to cause symptoms, while others are immediate like an itchy mouth and throat or digestive distress immediately after consuming.
- Insect Allergies – these can refer to the types of acute allergic reactions people have to bug bites (mosquito bites or spider bites) or stings from bees or wasps. It can also refer to respiratory or skin reactions to exposure to dust mites or cockroaches in the home environment. Most people with severe insect bite allergies are recommended to carry and epi-pen for their safety.
- Drug Allergies – many people have allergic reactions to certain types of medication, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, ACE inhibitors, anti-seizure medications, and even aspirin. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction to medication are things like hives or rash, fever, nausea and/or vomiting, or wheezing. A severe drug allergy can also cause anaphylaxis.
Acupuncture for Food Sensitivities and Food Intolerances—not just Food Allergies
Our Registered Acupuncturist will also use their wide knowledge of nutrition to help patients with food allergies, food sensitivities and food intolerance manage their diet. Often, when dealing with food intolerances and sensitivities, it can be challenging to find what needs to be eliminated, as it is not always immediately obvious to a person which foods or other environmental factors are involved in creating the uncomfortable symptoms.
How Acupuncture in Ottawa ON Works to Alleviate Allergies
TCM and Acupuncture have been recognized for a while by the WHO as helpful modalities to relieve respiratory illnesses, including seasonal allergies, rhinitis, sinusitis, and allergy-related asthma.
During an acupuncture session, a registered acupuncturist will apply several very thin needles to specific acupuncture points. There are thousands of acupuncture points throughout the body. These points are associated with a channel (or meridian) and an organ or system in the body. The acupuncturist will target points and meridians based on the health and symptom of each patient. The acupuncture points targeted for allergies will be different than those targeted for say, back pain or headaches.
For allergies, the acupuncture points may be located on the front of the body, like the front of the hand, feet, around the nose and face or on the ears.
If you're nervous about needles, there are even non-needle acupuncture allergy treatments using laser, auricular and acupressure points. Most patients say that these needles are relatively painless. If traditional allergy relief methods haven't worked for you before, don't let a fear of needles keep you away from acupuncture.
For some people, a few acupuncture sessions before their allergy season may be enough to relieve allergy symptoms for a whole year. For others whose symptoms are more severe, acupuncture may be used in conjunction with their current allergy relief processes.
Most allergic patients enjoy our scent-free and smoke-free clinic, and we welcome patients who prefer to wear a mask to prevent allergen exposures.
Many of our allergy patients enjoy Seasonal Balance Acupuncture, which aligns the body and patient at the changing of each season as a preventative measure. For those that have summer, fall, winter and spring allergies, this is a great way to manage symptoms. Many of our patients come in for these seasonal “tune-ups” before their allergies worsen.
Acupuncture and TCM herbs/ dietary changes can help to relieve allergy symptoms, and help to strengthen the body’s immune defenses, so that it is less vulnerable to allergens in the environment.
Allergies according to Traditional Chinese Medicine can be due to a variety of factors. Below are some of the more common TCM diagnoses that your acupuncturist may discover and treat.
- Wei Qi deficiency
- Spleen weakness
- Kidney deficiency
- Lung deficiency
In each patient’s case, we look for internal factors and external factors that are affecting the health of the person. In TCM, the immune system has both internal and external components. The external Wei Qi is a protective force that functions as a shield, blocking external pathogens like wind, dampness, and cold, from entering the body. The lungs provide the energy to keep Wei Qi strong and especially to keep pathogens from entering through the nose and mouth. However, when Wei Qi is weak, it becomes easy for Wind to enter the head and bring with it other external pathogens, like cold, heat, dampness, or dryness.
According to TCM, a person who suffers from allergies generally has a deficiency of Wei Qi, making them more susceptible to invasions of Wind. Acupuncture treatment might focus, for example, on strengthening the lungs and spleen, which helps to build the Wei Qi back up. Herbal and food remedies can both relieve hay fever symptoms and rhinitis, and help to tonify the Wei Qi, so that allergic reactions will lessen over time.
Acupuncture can help relieve itching, aid in the healing of lesions, help stimulate healthier immune responses and reduce stress. TCM treatment can also be sought as a safe treatment for children with eczema, or during pregnancy, as it is free of negative side effects.
Acupuncture can also help patients with other skin conditions, including signs of aging, acne, hives (urticaria), rosacea, and psoriasis.
What Can You Do to Help Manage Your Allergies Between Acupuncture Treatments?
Here are some other steps you can take to manage your allergy symptoms between treatments:
- Do a spring cleaning and clean out particularly dusty or moldy areas of your home like air vents, basements, and attics.
- Replace your furnace filter regularly – like 4 times a year, not just once a year.
- Change your sheets and pillowcase weekly.
- Don’t let your pets sleep on your bed (if possible) and cover your pillow (if not possible).
- Shower before coming to bed, so you leave all the allergens off you for a better night’s sleep.
- Stick to indoor activities during certain months to minimize pollen contact.
- Wear a mask during your worst seasons – like birch fluff, ragweed, snow mold seasons.
- Keep doors and windows closed when possible.
- Take a shower to rinse off pollen and allergens after outdoor activities or after touching animals and surfaces might be a trigger.
- Bathe/shower in warm (not hot) water and moisturize afterwards. Do not bathe/shower in hot water if you have a rash or eczema.
- Keep showers short and warm or cool.
- Use gentle cleansers, without strong chemical perfumes.
- Do not scrub your skin during or after the shower while drying. Pat gently.
- Wear long pants and sleeves when hiking and adventuring. Wear gloves when gardening to help avoid contact and exposure.
- Do not hang your clothes out to dry in the sun, as they will gather dust, mold, and pollen.
- Come in for an acupuncture tune-up!
- Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015;29(1):57-62. doi:10.2500/ajra.2015.29.4116
- Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;152(1 Suppl):S1-43. doi:10.1177/0194599814561600
- Hauswald B, Yarin YM. Acupuncture in allergic rhinitis: A mini-review. Allergo J Int. 2014;23(4):115-119. doi:10.1007/s40629-014-0015-3
- Chon TY, Lee MC. Acupuncture. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013;88(10):1141-6. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.06.009
- Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;23(3):216-20. doi:10.1097/MOO.0000000000000161
- American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. Acupuncture and seasonal allergies.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Acupuncture: In depth. Updated January 2016.
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