By Lara Michelle Aitken, O.M.D.
What Are Allergens?
An allergy is a result of a hypersensitivity of the immune system. Allergies are often hereditary and may appear intermittently as we progress through life.
Antigens or protein particles like pollen, food, or dander enter the body through a variety of methods. If the antigens cause an allergic reaction, then the antigens are known as allergens. Allergens can enter our body in several different ways.
Food. For example, peanuts, shrimp, and other shellfish.
The skin. Susceptible to plants such as poison ivy and poison sumac.
Injection. Examples would include venom from insect bites and stings, as well as certain injected medications.
Inhalation. Airborne allergens that come from trees and weeds can easily invade the nasal cavity and the lungs. House dust that includes dust mite particles, cat and dog dander, and mold spores.
What Can Acupuncture Do for Allergies?
Acupuncture is the use of extremely fine sterilized needles inserted at specific points of the body in order to rebalance the internal environment, reestablish homeostasis, and treat disease. In essence, it brings the body back into balance. According to the tenets of Chinese medicine, acupuncture influences the vital force, or qi, of the body. Western science has proven that acupuncture can regulate the body through many mechanisms, including stimulating the endocrine and nervous systems.
When treating allergies, acupuncture is able to treat both the symptoms and the cause of the symptoms. This is referred to as a root and branch treatment. The branch treatment often focuses on local and distal points that target the energy pathways involved. The root treatment aims to restore the body’s functions in order to address the cause.
Diagnosing an allergy using acupuncture is far more individualized than it is with Western medicine. Allergies are analyzed by the pattern of symptoms seen in the specific patient, and the treatment is designed to relieve the symptoms using the root and branch approach.
Treatment is provided with herbal consultation and weekly acupuncture treatments that can be administered via fine needles or low-level laser. Some considerations to aid in addressing allergic symptoms include eating local produce and buying local honey. Avoiding processed and refined foods is also recommended. According to the World Health Organization, it has been shown in controlled studies that acupuncture is more effective than antihistamine drugs in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Acupuncture's lack of side effects is a distinct advantage in treating allergies.
This article was originally published in the May/June issue of Lake Mary Life Magazine. The author, Lara Michelle Aitken, O.M.D. has practiced as a doctor of Oriental medicine and an acupuncture physician in Central Florida for over 10 years. Dr. Aitken graduated from the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Health Studies degree and has earned a Master of Oriental Medicine degree. She currently treats allergy symptoms, weight management, and esthetics at Healing Laser Clinics, Inc. in Lake Mary.
Lake Mary Life Magazine is the premier lifestyle publication in the Lake Mary area, dedicated to publishing positive and uplifting stories about our community. Lake Mary Life is a partner of GalTime Orlando.