How Does Acupuncture Treat Allergies?

Since moving to East Tennessee, I’ve heard it called “the allergy capital of the world.” It seems that most people in our area suffer from seasonal allergies of some sort. 

When we come in contact with an environmental allergen, like pollen, the immune cells in the mucous membranes of our eyes, nose and throat go into high gear, causing increased inflammation. This leads to swollen sinuses and increased mucous production – which causes all the symptoms we associate with seasonal allergies –  runny nose, watery eyes, dry cough, headache and congested sinuses.

Acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat many seasonal allergy symptoms.

In fact, a 2018 study in Germany showed that an 8-week course of acupuncture treatment was more effective than cetirizine (Zyrtec) in managing allergy symptoms during peak allergy season. 

When seeking acupuncture for the management of allergy symptoms, we recommend that you plan for 6-8 weekly treatments.

Although some people may experience immediate results on the table, it often takes a few weeks for the inflammation in your body to decrease such that you are symptom-free. Once you are feeling well, you will likely want to continue to see your acupuncturist every 6-8 weeks during the allergy “off-season.”

Whether you’re plagued by itchy eyes, runny nose, stuffy sinuses, headache, or dry cough, know that acupuncture can help. Give us a call or visit our website to schedule your first visit. 

References:

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nccaom.org/

Acupuncture & Cancer Pain

Treating pain can be difficult, regardless of its origin, but treating cancer pain can be particularly tricky because it often has multiple causes.

According to Paley, et. al.: “Moderate to severe pain is experienced by 40% of individuals with early or intermediate stage cancer and 90% of individuals with advanced cancer. Up to 70% of all patients with cancer pain do not receive adequate pain relief, diminishing their quality of life in terms of both physical and psychological well-being.”

Tumors can compress structures, nerves can become irritated, inflammation multiplies, bones and organs can be taxed in their response to tumors or therapies – each pain is complex and often will often be prescribed a new therapy or drug in response. 

But, acupuncture provides an accessible and safe alternative to pain management without the need of added pharmaceuticals.

In a recent position paper published by the research group Evidence Based Acupuncture, a literature review showed that many studies found a moderate effect size of acupuncture on cancer-related pain, and concluded that: “…acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer related pain, particularly malignancy-related and surgery induced pain.”

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, our practitioners utilize their years of experience treating pain of all sorts.

Each visit, your acupuncturist will assess the quality, intensity, duration and frequency of your pain, as well as your current treatment regimens with your oncologist and other physicians.

We strive to be another source of excellent care as part of your integrated healthcare team.

Resources:

“Acupuncture as a Therapeutic Treatment for Cancer Pain.” Evidence Based Acupuncture, www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/acupuncture-cancer-pain/.

Paley, C.A., Johnson, M.I., Tashani, O.A. and Bagnall, A.M., 2011. Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev1(10).

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture Needles
Acupuncture Needles

What are acupuncture needles?

Acupuncture needles have been used for many centuries. While the majority of acupuncture started with less modern materials, such as bones, sticks and bamboo.  

Acupuncture needles have advanced with new technology. Modern needles are fine, filiform (no hole down the middle of the shaft) needles made from surgical steel and come in sterile packs.

They range in thickness from 30 to 40 gauge, which is about the diameter of a hair (in contrast, the needle that a phlebotomist uses to draw your blood is between 18 and 22 guage, which is much much thicker).

 Acupuncture needles range in length from about 0.5 inches to 4-5 inches, but most often in the clinic we use 0.5-1.5 inches. 

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Acupuncture is generally considered to be painless by most of our patients. We understand that sensitivity can be different for everyone. The majority of people would say no and that they can’t even feel them. Though, there are many different sensations associated with acupuncture. Some people can feel the “Qi” some don’t and that’s okay.

We’ll link to our article about Qi here

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What do you do with your needles?

At Maryville Acupuncture, all of our needles are single use, sterile and disposed of in a sharps container. We never reuse needles. 

These needles are left in place for 20-25 minutes while you rest comfortably.

What else should I expect during a treatment?

There are additional modalities such as cupping, electro-stimulation, lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, stress management) and traditional Chinese medicinal practices that are occasionally incorporated into your treatment to give you the best benefit.