Sneezes, watery eyes, stuffy nose and sniffles plague a third of human beings living in the United States. The reason for this: the allergy season.

Typically harmless but exaggerated immune reactions/responses to certain substances, allergies are often relieved in a conventional way with over-the-counter drugs. Acupuncturists believe that a lot of these allergy symptoms can be avoided.  They believe that good health is due to balance in all aspects of life that needs to be guarded and maintained at all times. The normal regimen of searching for that ‘magic pill’ is a red herring. Traditional Chinese medicine offers ancient healing modalities that provide relief without the side effects conventional medicines have and this relief is long lasting. Traditional Chinese medicine’s focus is always to get to the root of the problem as well as address the symptoms. In western conventional medicine, the most common treatments for allergy include decongestants, antihistamines and corticosteroids for severe reactions. These drugs, as mentioned, come with side effects and usually only mask the symptoms.  The most likely side effects of these allergy medications include:


There are asthma drugs that can provoke suicidal thoughts or depression and so mental status needs to be observed on a regular basis for those taking these types of medications.

Increased appetite

This potential side effect of using antihistamines is only good if you are trying to increase weight.  It’s quite easy to gain weight when taking these types of drugs. The weight can be seen in the expansion of the mid part of your body, especially when you notice your stomach and waist starting to expand.


A lot of the antihistamines offered in the market, have the side effect of sleepiness. Taking these antihistamines then is potentially dangerous especially if you operate machinery or need to drive. They certainly would lower your performance at work.  These drugs can certainly be useful when taken at night especially when you need to sleep well at night.

It is not recommended to use decongestant nasal sprays for three to five days straight or more since doing so can make your nasal passages swell which then can exacerbate your allergic symptoms.  Some of the symptoms oral decongestants can cause include difficulty getting some sleep, insomnia, aggravation of existing heart rhythm anomalies and increased blood pressure.

When performed by a licensed, qualified and trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is sure to be a very effective and safe modality.  When imbalances in your body are diagnosed, a combination of herbal formulas, lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations and acupuncture may be needed to restore balance into your body.  There are several positive side effects for these treatments including relief from headaches, arthritis or PMS, less tress, increased energy as well as relief from asthma and chronic pain. Maybe you need help for your cold or flu symptoms, a treatment for your back pain or tennis elbow or need a quick treatment for jet lag. The main goal of traditional Chinese medicine is to balance your vital energy.

After your acupuncturist examines your symptoms, signs and main complaint, he/she locates acupuncture points along the affected meridians (pathways where energy flows) associated with the problematic organ systems. Sterile and ultra thin needles are then inserted into the acupuncture point causing energy flow to be redirected to help resolve an imbalance. The whole acupuncture session may last around 20 to 30 minutes after which then the needles are removed from the body.

It’s such a great relief to be free of sneezes, watery eyes, stuffy nose and sniffles.  Acupuncture can provide you with better sleep, enhanced energy; it also removes stress from the body.

Patients who suffer from potentially life-ending or significant allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis should cooperate with their physicians in integrating alternative therapies into their treatment plan.

Danielle DeVivo is a board certified and licensed acupuncturist in Saratoga Springs, NY.