Treating hay fever with acupuncture

In Chinese medicine, allergies to pollen, and such things as animal fur, household dust, cosmetics, are usually all due to the same underlying cause, a weakness in kidney function.

If a person has suffered hay fever from childhood, this would usually indicate that they were born with “Kidney Deficiency” (a term used for this syndrome in Chinese medicine). This might be because one or both of their parents were “getting on a bit” when the child was conceived; or that they were younger but had Kidney Deficiency themselves

If the hay fever has developed later in life, the Kidney Deficiency may be due to overworking for extended periods; driving yourself too hard; being used to “running on adrenaline”; being subject to fear for an extended period, or simply suffering a deeply fearful event.

Other possible symptoms

When patients have Kidney Deficiency, there are a range of possible symptoms that this might produce, including:

  • weak, sore, or painful low back and/or knees
  • mental dullness, feeling dizzy or light-headed;
  • hard of hearing, or deafness
  • shortness of breath on mild exertion; or asthma (of the type where it’s difficult to breath in)
  • distorted sense of fear (either feeling too fearful, or having an unnatural absence of fear)
  • feel hot at night (wake sweating, or wake with a dry mouth)

These would also be addressed by the treatment.

The treatment

There are two objectives in treating hay fever. The first would be to clear any of the typical symptoms you may be suffering. The second would be to treat your underlying Kidney Deficiency. Typical symptoms of hay fever would be dry, itching, bloodshot, and watery eyes; itching at the back of the throat; sinuses blocked, with a sensation of pressure, and possibly an accompanying headache.

There are a range of acupuncture points that are extremely effective at clearing all these symptoms. In fact, with most patients, the symptoms will usually clear during the session.

How many sessions are required and how quickly are the effects noticed?

Acupuncture quickly clears most forms of “Heat” (irritation) from the body. When this is focused on the eyes and nose, there are a range of acupuncture points (acupoints) that can be used. These are on the top of the hand, near the wrist. A needle would be placed in the acupoint at this location and this would enable the Heat from the other end of the channel (affecting the eyes) to be vented from the body, this would usually happen within a few minutes during the acupuncture session.

To treat the underlying Kidney Deficiency, I would choose acupoints that increase the strength of the kidney function. It would normally take several sessions for you to start to gradually notice the effects of this, which would be a gradual reduction in the symptoms listed above. Normally, your first course of treatments for a long-term problem such as this would consist of one treatment a week, for six weeks. After the first session, the benefits might only last a day or two, but after each successive treatment, the benefits would usually last longer. After your sixth treatment, it would be usual for you to be symptom-free for a whole week, and at this stage we would then start increasing the length between your treatments, starting with a two-week gap.

Patients soon get to the stage where they only need a “maintenance” treatment about once a month to remain symptom free, even with problems that they’d previously suffered for years. However the progress of your treatment depends on how stressful a life you lead, and your constitution. If you suffer a weak constitution (become ill quickly and take a long time to recover) leading stressful life and find it difficult to make any changes to your lifestyle, then for you to remain symptom free, you’re likely to require frequent maintenance treatments. People who have a stronger constitution might only require a follow-up treatment once every few months, or even less.

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