Acupuncture Alleviates Allergies - Upper East Side, New York City
Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means, allergy season will be showing up as well. In New York City, seasonal allergies may be particularly difficult to deal with because New Yorkers spend a great deal of time outside even when air quality is not as good. In contrast, the suburbs, to some extent, allow people to minimize time outside because they have their own car. Although new medications are available that do not have as many side effects, they remain ineffective for some or may stop working as well for others especially when people have been on them for a long period of time. Thankfully there is a way to help alleviate allergies naturally without medication through the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine.
In acupuncture there are 3 main channels which pass through the sinus region, they are the large intestine, stomach, and urinary bladder channels. There is 1 channel that opens into the nose, the lung channel, This means that the lung channel is responsible for keeping the sinus passages open. Two channels do not explicitly state they pass through the sinus region but when looking at the texts they must pass through the region that is the liver and heart channels. Lastly, there is 1 channel that has correlations with our immune system in Western medicine the kidney channel. The 3 main channels the large intestine, stomach, and urinary bladder channels explicitly list runny nose, nasal congestion, and bleeding nose as primary dysfunctions. When treating allergies with acupuncture a patient may exhibit signs and symptoms from any of these channels. Headaches may be prevalent when the urinary bladder channel is dysfunctional. The role of the acupuncturist is to determine which channel is the primary channel responsible and to treat accordingly. In my experience, at our Upper East Side clinic, the best way to determine the primary channel is to feel for disruptions along the channel pathways. In most cases treating treating the channel with the most significant changes will be particularly effective especially when allergies are chronic.
Interestingly when discussing the 3 main channels, we can see that two of them are digestive channels, the stomach and large intestine. The digestive channels are interesting in Chinese medicine because not only do they control our ability to digest food, they also control the circulation of water. Sinus congestion is one indication that the circulation of water is not functioning normally resulting in runny nose or in the cases of sinus infection green thick nasal discharge. In many cases, most people will also feel improvements in their digestive system as the allergies are being addressed, which is why I love practicing acupuncture. We treat the body as a whole unit and are able to treat multiple issues at the same time because of the interconnectedness of the channel system. In addition to treating one of these 3 primary channels, we may also address the kidney if the conditions are chronic because of their correlations with immunity in Western medicine, or the lung channel if the condition is acute. The classical texts also mention of special regions to treat when immune related illnesses manifest in the head or in the abdomen. Depending on the severity of the condition we will recommend dietary changes, herbal therapy, and exercises to reduce inflammation in the sinuses.