2 Your Health: Acupuncture for allergies

It’s ragweed season and if that stuffy nose and sinus pain are making you miserable, you might find relief in ancient Chinese medicine.

Stimulating different points on the body using tiny needles, or your even fingertips, may provide some quick relief.

“Clinical studies in the acupuncture field are showing that stimulating these various acupuncture points help to promote an antihistamine effect,” says Jamie Starkey, LAc, a Cleveland Clinic acupuncturist.


Acupuncture versus Acupressure

Acupuncture is a practice where hair-thin needles are inserted into ‘acu-points’ on the body to treat or prevent illness.

Starkey uses acupuncture to treat allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose, sinus headaches and sinus pressure.

As part of a treatment plan she also teaches patients acupressure. Acupressure is an off-shoot of acupuncture where you use your fingers, or another small object, to apply pressure to the same acu-points instead of needles.


Allergy Relief at Your Fingertips

There are two places on your face where you can use acupressure to relieve allergy symptoms.

The first spot is at the base of your nose. Using your index fingers press and hold this area for 3 minutes to relieve sinus pressure.

“You’ll feel your nose opening up if you have some nasal congestion,” says Starkey.

The second spot involves pressing at the top of each inner eyebrow to help relieve pressure in your forehead. Again, gently press and hold for about 3 minutes.

“You’ll feel the pressure relief in your head, oftentimes headaches will go away,” says Starkey. “Sometimes patients will feel immediate relief.”

Starkey says most people don’t experience any side effects from acupressure and it’s generally considered very safe, however there are certain points that pregnant women should avoid.

Expecting mothers should consult with a professional before applying treatment themselves.

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