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Published on April 02, 2018

spring blossoms and pollen

Stop Seasonal Allergies Before They Start With Acupuncture

It could be ragweed. It might be the pollen, but it might be mold or dust. Or a combination of all these triggering seasonal allergy bad-guys that come along, like clockwork, and that make you sneeze, cough and jog along outside with tissues after that runny nose and itching eyes.

For folks who suffer these symptoms, there are medicines that can help. But the cost can add up and side effects can make you sleepy or feel out-of-sorts.

Acupuncture is an all-natural approach, one that goes back many centuries, and that doesn’t leave you feeling all logy and spaced out.

“It’s never any fun to go into a beautiful season with a sense of dread about going outside to enjoy the improving weather. That’s among the top reasons people come back to see us and get acupuncture for seasonal allergies,” said Avera Medical Group Integrative Medicine physician Sally Williams, DO. “With acupuncture, we can and do see results, and we see patients who have not only reduced their need for medications but also who have started acupuncture and have less need for it over time.”

In addition to acupuncture, Williams said that many patients use essential oils and consult with her about diet. As a three-part approach, they often can dismiss the sniffs, coughs or constant tingling that comes with spring and fall allergies, which some 50 million Americans face.

“We can address diet questions and look at the possibility of eliminating some foods to see if it’ll help. Acupuncture is proven to have success with allergy issues related to the many natural triggers that accompany a change in season,” Williams said. “Supplements, along with essential oils, also provide relief for a lot of people.”

One-hour appointments for acupuncture include the placement of hair-thin needles in key points that help the body to use its own resources to deescalate the impact of pollen, ragweed and other irritants. Williams said in many cases, people who have found success with acupuncture can get proactive with the treatments and stop allergy suffering before it occurs.

“Acupuncture is tailored to the individual. We place the slender needles in spots around the face, on the forearms and hands and in the area below the knees to the feet. Sometimes we may place them in the ears,” she said. “They are left in place for about 20-30 minutes and people starting out will come in one or two times a week. Sometimes people who get allergy issues year-round will come in for maintenance treatments a few times a year. For others, it might be a monthly visit.”

Williams and her colleague, Dawn Flickema, MD, can help anyone “dial in” the appropriate approach.

“For many people, getting off the medication is a huge step in the right direction,” she said. “So you’re not suffering from the allergy symptoms, you’re not buying that medication that makes you feel sleepy and you’re also getting the secondary benefits like lowered anxiety and heightened energy that often come with acupuncture. We can modify the use of these tools in a way that works best for you.”

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