By Heather Legg
We talk a lot about how to treat allergies, whether they are food related or environmental. For the most part, avoidance and medication is the most common method of treatment, and that medication can be anything from immunotherapy to over the counter or prescription meds, including antihistamines, Epipens and other allergy medicine.
However, one often overlooked way of dealing with any kind of allergy is acupuncture. Reports show that often relief is immediate, though it can take many sessions for consistent relief. With food allergies, there is more of a technique referred to as NAET which involves acupuncture (or acupressure) along with some other techniques to eliminate the body’s response to the allergy.
Though many people unfamiliar with acupuncture may be skeptical because it is not as well known in western countries as other areas of the world, it does have huge benefits. When my family first tried it, we weren’t completely sure, but also realized there is nothing really to lose (except money if your acupuncturist is not credible). Because it is noninvasive and you aren’t taking any medication, it does not have side effects. Also, people may tend to think the needles will hurt, but with a good acupuncturist, there is no pain, often you can barely even feel the needles.
Children can receive acupuncture, too, and it helps with any side effect from allergies, including headaches, stomach issues and fatigue. Often an acupuncturist will have tiny needles to use on a child, which is a bit less scary than larger ones to a child. And if acupuncture itself is too frightening, the practitioner can perform acupressure, which is similar but uses lights and lasers instead of needles. It is not always as effective, but can still have many benefits.
Also, for those accustomed to their allergy medications, they can continue to take them while getting acupuncture, and many find that as the process goes on, they don’t need the medication as much. Some people do not want to give up the medication until they know something else will work.
It may take a few sessions of acupuncture to see lasting relief of allergies, and for some people, they won’t need to go again. Some people will go for more acupuncture during a high allergy season, or every so often for a “tune up.” The best thing to do is have an open, comfortable relationship with a reliable, credible practitioner.
When it comes to explaining acupuncture, that’s where I am not so adept. The best analogy I have heard is the one that compares the body to a garden hose. When a hose gets a kink in it, the water can’t flow to its best potential. When the body has a “kink” in it, the chi can’t flow smoothly and something will not act as it should, whether it is a headache or a reaction to pollen. That’s when people look at me, when I mention the word “chi.” So if you are really interested in learning more about acupuncture as a treatment you better go to Wikipedia to educate yourself before deciding if it’s for you.