An allergy is the reaction of the body to a substance or a food. Allergies are very common and around 25% all people will have some kind of reaction to something at some point in their lives. They are more common in children as they adapt to their environment and often spontaneously disappear, whereas some may have a lifelong problem and some adults can suddenly develop allergies to things they weren’t previously allergic to. Having allergies can disrupt normal life but on the whole the reactions are manageable and go unnoticed by other people.
Common allergies include: grass and tree pollen animal hair, dust mites, certain medications, mould, rubber, household cleaning products and insect bites.
The medical route is to diagnose the agent that has caused the allergy and then to treat the symptom. Most allergies are the person’s immune system responding to the agent and so the most common treatment is to suppress the immune response. Antihistamines are effective and are the main medicines for allergies. Decongestants can be used when the nose has reacted and blocked and if the skin is red and itchy creams and lotions can easy the irritation. In more extreme cases steroid medications can be used to reduce inflammation and these are offered as nasal sprays, creams, inhalers and tablets. In very extreme cases immunotherapy can be used where the immune system as a whole is suppressed to calm the reaction.
The Five Element acupuncturist sees any allergy (like any symptom) as a sign of the person being unable to find internal balance. All living beings are governed by the natural laws we observe in nature and the cause of the inability to respond appropriately to the external agent experienced by the presenting patient will have a cause in one of the five elements that produce our outer and inner reality. Practitioners of this ancient healing tradition have the skills to diagnose the unique cause of the allergy in each person and effect an acupuncture treatment that has the potential to not only prevent the allergic response but all of the person’s suffering.