Acupuncture offers a natural and effective treatment of allergic rhinitis, one which is free of unwanted side-effects. Oriental medicine sees the body, and indeed the whole universe, as an energy system, a concept not at all foreign to modern physics. Material objects, including the biochemicals responsible for physiological processes, are manifestations of energy.
This energy is called qi in the oriental medicine language.
According to the Oriental diagnostic system, chronic allergic rhinitis often results from an underlying deficiency of the qi, or life-energy, of the Lung and can be treated in part by stimulating points on the lung meridian, most of which are found near the wrist. The symptoms of hay fever involve the nose, but in oriental medicine, the nose is regarded as an extension of the lung, which in fact it is. When the lung functions normally, respiration is normal, the nose is unobstructed, and the sense of smell is acute. When the enAcupuncture offers ergy of the lung is strengthened, the sensitivity to airborne allergens decreases, and the patient can experience substantial relief. Since acupuncture is a holistic system of medicine, the whole person is treated, both mind and body.
Patients with a lung qi deficiency often have systemic symptoms that include general lassitude and fatigue, lack of spirit and apathy, spontaneous sweating, and a propensity for catching cold. Often, other organ systems and meridians are involved as well. By supplementing the qi where it is deficient, draining it where it is excess, and balancing its flow and distribution, overall improvements in health can result.
Laboratory studies corroborate the alternative medicine account of how allergic responses can be reduced or eliminated. They have shown that after acupuncture, the IgE level decreases, resulting in a decrease in histamine production. Acupuncture also seems to desensitize the nerves that would normally react adversely to the IgE-antigen complex.
Herbal medicine is a very useful adjunct to acupuncture treatment because there are a number of herbs which reduce the inflammatory response as well as sinus congestion. In Oriental medicine, herbs are rarely given singly, but are combined with other herbs in formulas that have a balancing effect on the body. Each individual is different, and formulas are adjusted accordingly.