If the hay fever season is looming large on your calendar it might be worth considering an alternative approach to it this year. Many of you may already have noticed an increase in the familiar itching, prickling, stuffy sensations associated with hay fever; as many as 13 million people in the UK are thought to suffer from such symptoms. Symptoms typically include sneezing, having an itchy or blocked nose, watery eyes or a watery nasal discharge; it is not unusual for sufferers to also notice an increase in wheezing, tiredness, headaches or sinus pain. While not life-threatening, hay fever can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life as it can interfere with your work, sleep and leisure activities.
Conventional medicines aim to minimise or eliminate symptoms such as oral and topical antihistamines, corticosteroids or decongestants but many sufferers are not happy with the need to medicate their way through every hay fever season. Acupuncture could offer you an alternative approach. Your acupuncturist will look to see how your body is responding to your hay fever triggers, and will look to support your system to respond to these triggers in a more holistic way. While acupuncture cannot guarantee to help all sufferers, there is evidence from systematic reviews suggesting that it may be a safe and effective treatment for hay fever. Acupuncture is recognised as a viable treatment option for hay fever by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the world’s largest organisation of Ear, Nose and Throat specialists.
Evidence suggests acupuncture is more effective against hay fever when used preventatively; if you are a regular sufferer, plan to start treatment before you become too symptomatic. You could also try some of these tips to help you tackle hay fever more naturally:
Local honey is reputed to help decrease the inflammatory response by gradually desensitising the system to local allergens.
Reduce your intake of mucous-forming dairy products.
Drink nettle tea which can help to ease inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching.
Eat more onions! Onions are packed with the flavonoid quercetin, a powerful antioxidant and natural anti-histamine. Slice raw red onions thinly and add them to salads or sandwiches to get the most goodness from them.
Turmeric is another useful addition to your diet, containing curcumin which is another powerful natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. You can easily add it to soups, stews and curries or take it as a supplement.
Acupuncture has been shown to help the body to regulate some of the mediators of the allergic reactions which cause the symptoms of hay fever. It can also help reduce inflammation, improve the immune system and can increase the local microcirculation to encourage swelling to disperse. Aside from these physical actions, acupuncture encourages the release of endorphins and helps to ease stress.