Allergic rhinitis is more commonly known as hay fever. Hay fever affects 10-40% of the population.
The term 'hay fever' refers to symptoms of fever (allergic reaction) when exposed to hay. This gives a clue to why so many people suffer from this condition. Having a lot of one type of plant, for example grass, in one area is not naturally. It's not something that is commonly seen in Nature. When grass it cut, it throws up lots of particles which overload the immune system causing an exaggerated response, hay fever symptoms.
Hay fever is a common problem in the UK. One possible reason for this can be due to over-enthusiastic Victorian botanists who travelled the world looking for new and exotic plants and brought them back to a small island, the UK, where the population has evolved to tolerate the pollen produced by the new foreign plants.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, nasal itching, nasal blockage, watery nasal discharge, itchy red eyes, tearing eyes, wheezing, etc.
Acupuncture for hay fever
From a biomedicine point of view, acupuncture can people suffering with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) by:
- Regulating levels of IgE and cytokines, mediators of the allergic reaction to extrinsic allergens
- Stimulating nerves , which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord
- Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
- Enhancing natural killer cell activities
- Increasing local microcirculation, which reduces swelling
I've helped people who've suffered from hay fever since childhood, become symptom free. It's my believe that acupuncture resets the immune system from its initial over exaggerated response.