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It’s hayfever season: Tackle the root cause

Updated: Jun 16


Hydrangea flower

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also called ‘hayfever’ is upon us. Sneezing, a blocked nose, no sense of smell, itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing and a runny nose make life hard work. Any hayfever sufferer will tell you it can strike suddenly . Western medical treatment includes antihistamines which can have side effects.


In contrast, acupuncture doesn't focus on reducing immune response but instead on strengthening the body's defence system to prevent allergens from entering and affecting the lining of the nasal passage and lungs. Treatments are based on your individual needs and are aimed at addressing any underlying imbalance. Acupuncture treatment is most effective when it is administered for two consecutive spring/early summers.


The World Health Organisation (2003) has recognised acupuncture as an effective treatment for rhinitis (1).


How does acupuncture work?


Acupuncture is thought to reduce the body's stress response by lowering cortisol levels and encouraging the body to reduce sensitivity. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and lungs by increasing blood circulation and releasing endorphins (our body's own painkillers).


Treatment is most effective when it begins before hayfever season begins and is carried out for two seasons.


What can you expect in a treatment?


Whilst Western medicine has one approach to dealing with hayfever i.e. reduce the body's response by administering antihistamine, Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at why the body is reacting to pollen. The cause can vary from one person to another so your first appointment includes a consultation to determine exactly why you are reacting to allergens. Treatment focuses on reducing symptoms as well as strengthening the lungs and any other organs which may be out of balance.


Only a few needles are used but if you are worried about needles then it's worth knowing that each needle is the width of a hair! If you really can't bear needles then acupressure can be used instead.


The needles are usually left for around 25-30 mins to allow the body to respond. The number of treatments required depends on how well you respond and how long you have experienced symptoms.


What else can help to reduce symptoms?

😀 Acupressure points LI 20 & Bi Tong- Place your index fingers either side of your nose. Move the fingers up from the bottom of your nose to your brow and back. Do this vigorously as it helps to open the nasal passages.


😀 Acupressure point LI 4- press the fleshy skin on the top of your hand in between the thumb and index finger.


😀 Eat foods which strengthen the Lungs. Check out this post for a list of foods here


😀 Apply a little Vaseline or balm to the inside of your nostrils to help trap pollen.


😀 Shower before you go to sleep to wash off any pollen so that you can sleep unaffected by symptoms.



If you are keen to try acupuncture to help you deal with hayfever then contact the clinic to book an appointment


Don't forget to follow us on Instagram: @yasminhodgeacupuncture


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References

(1) World Health Organisation (2003). Acupuncture: Review and analysis on controlled clinical trials. Available at: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4926e/s4926e.pdf


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