Struggle with hay fever, and the drowsiness of antihistamines? Acupuncture offers you a natural way to treat this – find out how from our acupuncturist Tiffany Black


Spring is in the air – a phrase that can lift the spirits of many! However it simultaneously makes the hearts sink of the 1 in 4 who suffer from hay fever. As the air becomes fragrant with the subtly of spring flowers, budding trees and grasses, it can also bring with it a wave of misery for the 13 million people in the UK who are afflicted with allergic rhinitis.

By the first week of March, I was already seeing patients with the first signs of hay fever. This is a depressing feeling for those who feel they have only just come through the cold and flu season only to find themselves sneezing and blowing for a different reason.


Alternative treatment

I regularly hear in the media there is little one can do for hay fever other than take antihistamines, wear sunglasses, and keep windows closed. I long to be able to reach out to the millions of people whose summer months are blighted by hay fever symptoms and tell them there is another option. And the joy of acupuncture is that you can avoid the many side affects of antihistamines. These effects can include:

  • drowsiness,
  • headaches,
  • nausea,
  • blurred vision

Antihistamines also have to be taken with caution if you are pregnant, breast feeding, have heart, liver or kidney disease (NHS, 2017). Acupuncture does not have any side effects other than mild and self-correcting symptoms (e.g. possible slight bruising around the needle point).


What is hay fever?

Hay fever is the body’s reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and flowers. The proteins in the pollen can irritate the eyes and the lining of the nasal passages. This in turn triggers the immune system to try and flush out the allergen by creating more mucus, and thus the symptoms we associate with hay fever.


How can acupuncture help?

In Chinese medicine, we treat the immune system by effectively calming it down so it doesn’t react so aggressively to the pollen. We do this by inserting very fine sterile needles in specific points that are known to reduce inflammation.

Initially, in treatment my focus is to reduce the acute symptoms and bring some relief and reprieve to the onslaught of discomfort the patient is feeling. I specifically target the treatment to reduce:

  • the itching in the eyes
  • the headache, or
  • the scratchy sensation in the palette and throat.

Thus, individualising the treatment depending on the signs and symptoms the patient is presenting with. I find even after the first treatment patients report an improvement in symptoms, which boosts morale and energy. Once the acute symptoms are under control, I then work to strengthen the patient’s immunity, which is ultimately the root cause of the hay fever.


Helping other conditions as well

Those who suffer from hay fever often also:

  • catch colds easily,
  • are asthma suffers,
  • prone to other allergies, or
  • have sensitive skin.

As the acupuncture strengthens their underlying immunity, they often find these other pre-existing conditions also improve.

So throughout treatment my aim is to not only relieve the patient of their debilitating symptoms but also, restore balance and boost their immunity. This then means the treatment brings long-lasting benefits – so they can go on to enjoy a symptom-free spring and summer.

Chinese herbal medicine also works to help treat hay fever symptoms naturally – find out about our herbal flower tincture created specifically for this and available only at the Alma Vale Centre

To book an appointment with any of our acupuncturists, please call us on 0117 3771186.