San Francisco, CA – In an effort to educate individuals about asthma and allergies during the peak season, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has declared every May since 1984 to be “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.”
Basic allopathic (Western) medical therapies often rely on inhibiting the allergic response; antihistamines are a good example. Other types of drugs used to treat allergic rhinitis or asthma include ones that act on the nervous system, cortico-steroids, and decongestants.
Chinese Medicine for Allergies and Asthma
Although allopathic medicine is very effective at treating the allergic response, side effects such as drowsiness in some people, immune system suppression or over-reliance on medications cause many to seek alternative approaches to managing their allergies. Traditional Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for asthma and allergy sufferers.
The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health both recognize the use of acupuncture in the treatment of respiratory disorders, including asthma. Acupuncture is free of the side effects associated with asthma medications, and often results in fewer attacks.
According to Chinese medicine, there are many factors that may trigger an asthma attack or allergies. The goal of an acupuncturist is to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, which addresses the person’s acute symptoms and provides relief, while addressing the underlying immune system imbalance, which is thought to be at the root of the person’s allergies or asthma. Treatments often include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and dietary modification.
A 2009 American Journal of Epidemiology study showed that acupuncture significantly relieves allergic rhinitis symptoms.
In this German study, 5,237 men and women were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with allergic rhinitis compared with treatment with routine care alone. Patients with allergic rhinitis were randomly allocated to receive acupuncture for a 3-month period or to a control group that received no acupuncture. All patients were allowed to receive usual medical care. A Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire and a general health-related quality of life (36-Item, Short-Form) survey were evaluated at baseline and after 3 and 6 months. Improvements were noted at the 3-month and the 6-month evaluation for the patients receiving acupuncture.
The authors concluded that treating patients with allergic rhinitis in routine care with additional acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits.
For more information on how Chinese medicine can help those suffering with allergies and asthma, please call (415) 355-1601 x12 or schedule an appointment with our San Francisco community clinic.
About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
ACTCM has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. ACTCM also offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.