How Acupuncture Can Help Fight Seasonal Allergies

It may not feel like Spring with the blizzard coming to Northeast this week but it will officially be here next week! Along with a new Spring menu of prepared-meals available for delivery, Monday next week marks the official start of the "Summer is almost here, yay!" Spring season. This means it's time for Spring Cleaning - not only of your house and closets, but also your heath and wellness. There is no better time then the start of a new season to kickstart your wellness routine. It's not just about making self-care a priority, incorporating more fitness into your schedule, or choosing to eat clean. As spring begins, you also need to consider the changes that come with this season specifically: Allergies.

For the next three months pollen will abound, so what do you do? We've previously discussed how a cleanse program can help alleviate allergies (especially when you cut dairy out of your diet), but what about acupuncture? To help explain more we needed to chat with an expert. Check out our interview with Provenance Meals Wellness Partner and Seasoned Acupuncturist, Margaret Sikowitz, about the benefits of acupuncture when it comes to combatting seasonal allergies:

How do acupuncture and Chinese medicine work as it pertains to allergies?

Chinese medicine is all about balancing the body, helping stay strong and resilient.  By inserting needles just below the surface of the skin, a reaction is triggered to promote homeostasis. In addition to promoting a calmer nervous system, acupuncture points are chosen to address symptoms as they present, so, in peak allergy season we work on un-stuffing noses and clearing out lungs. Acupuncture is fantastic to provide immediate relief from runny noses, itchy eyes, sinus congestion and headaches. Better yet, prior to allergy season we try to create a stronger healthier respiratory function so that when the pollen count gets high, the body can handle it better. This medicine is smart enough to realize that since it's virtually impossible to avoid pollen and other common allergens we must strengthen immune systems so those triggers don’t cause havoc on your body in the first place.   

Besides needles what are other recommendations in Chinese medicine to alleviate or prevent symptoms? 

Chinese herbs are also hugely helpful. I treat a lot of patients before spring plants start to bloom, strengthening their immunity and supporting their general constitution, with personalized herbal teas. The benefit of customization like this this is that it truly is patient specific. The typical western approach uses the same few medicines (e.g., antihistamine) for everyone.  Last week, I had patient come in who suffered from seasonal allergies for years until we started working together.  In addition, he has a fair bit of work related anxiety and low energy.  His herbal teas will differ from someone who has a hard time falling asleep at night, despite the similarity in their allergies.

Any food recommendations to help alleviate allergies? Or maybe herbs and teas that people can try?

As with many health problems, eating well can really help.  Unsure how to eat well?  Consider a few simple rules:

  • If it has a bar code, skip it.
  • If it is from the earth (vegetables, whole grains, fruits) enjoy. Animal protein is fine, enjoy in moderation, opting when possible for non-GMO, organic, and humanely raised. 
  • Refined sugars are addictive and awful. Try to avoid at all costs! If you have a sweet tooth, a bit of well-made dark chocolate is a much better choice than anything of the fake food variety.
  • Three simple words - Moderation is key. 
  • Of course, there is no better way to jump-start your clean living life with a few weeks of healthy, thoughtful and delicious Provenance food delivery ☺
  • Specific to allergies, an aromatic herbal tea, like a mint or ginger, can help open up sinuses.  Spicy foods in general are also great for this purpose.

What else can acupuncture help with?

Acupuncture is wonderful medicine.  As I glance at my upcoming week’s schedule, I can truly appreciate the breadth of ability, with patients coming in experiencing everything from low back pain to infertility, arthritis and menstrual cramps, and, of course, allergies. On my website there are some studies and articles that highlight some of what acupuncture treats. If you have a health related concern that you’d like to discuss with me, feel free to get in touch and I’m happy to provide a complimentary phone consultation to see if I can be of help: / 917-664-4225.

About Margaret Sikowitz - Margaret graduated from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, one of the nations’ oldest accredited colleges granting Masters Degrees in Chinese Medicine. While she was a student there she apprenticed with one of New York’s foremost experts in the field. She continues to study and practice alongside the most respected names in the field, sharing her beautiful 23rd Street offices with some of the city’s most talented practitioners. Margaret lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Being a busy working mother informs Margaret’s work constantly. She understands the challenges of finding balance in life, and brings warmth, wisdom and common sense to her patients as they work to achieve their health goals. Her candor and compassion are treasured by her patients.   You can read about patients’ experiences with Margaret on her website.