There are a number of situations in which allergies can be relieved with acupuncture, as indicated in numerous studies comparing acupuncture with other methods of treatment for allergies. Many acupuncturists feel that acupuncture is a better approach to allergy treatment, because it is designed to get at the root cause of the allergies, rather than simply suppressing the symptoms. Some allergy doctors, however, caution that it is a good idea to pursue combination therapy, using acupuncture in conjunction with other types of medical treatment to ensure that patients do not become seriously ill.
Allergies are caused when people's immune systems decide to attack particular compounds, for a variety of reasons. There are a number of theories about what causes allergies and how allergies can be prevented, but most people agree that allergies are generally miserable, causing skin problems, stuffy noses, runny eyes, and difficulty breathing. In Western medicine, a variety of allergy drugs are used to treat the problem, along with diet and lifestyle changes; with acupuncture, allergies can be addressed with a series of treatments which are meant to correct the perceived imbalances in the body which lead to allergic reactions.
There are a number of different schools of acupuncture, and you may want to research to find a school and a practitioner you feel comfortable with. Medical acupuncturists, for example, often have a more Western approach to the idea that allergies can be relieved with acupuncture, using the session to stimulate the immune system, while Chinese acupuncturists focus on imbalances in the balance of qi, or life force, in the body. You can also find people who specialize in Worsley Five Element, French energetics, Korean, and Japanese schools of acupuncture. Allergies can be relieved with acupuncture from any one of these schools, although the approach may be different.
According to studies, allergies can be relieved with acupuncture in a number of ways. Studies on acupuncture patients suggest that the process actually alters the flow of neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the body, and that well-placed acupuncture needles could perhaps shut down the body's reaction to a substance. It is also possible that allergies can be relieved through acupuncture because acupuncture stimulates the immune system, and if you subscribe to the idea that allergies are a manifestation of the theory that the body is striving for a state of balance, then the application of strategic needles would help restore this balance.
Allergies can be relieved with acupuncture in conjunction with other medical treatments, if you are not quite ready to take the plunge. Many acupuncturists actually recommend the same things that allopathic doctors do, like changing one's diet and exercise routine, and using a restricted diet to identify problem foods. Some are also happy to work in conjunction with an allopathic doctor who may offer allergy medications to mitigate symptoms. If you see an allopathic doctor on a regular basis, you should talk to him or her about your plan to use acupuncture as part of your medical treatment.