Now is the time to start Hayfever treatment

Spring is here! But while many people are looking forward to enjoying the summer ahead, for 20% of our population it not such an enjoyable season. For those that suffer with hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis,  it can be a miserable time of year.

But sufferers should know that this need not be the case. Acupuncture can both relieve the symptoms of hayfever and prevent your immune system over reacting to the pollen in the first place. It can be used successfully during the hay fever season but is most effective as a preventative treatment. It is advised to seek treatment before the hay fever season starts, in early spring, to support the immune system for the coming spring and summer.

Aisling (34) describes her experience of acupuncture:
“I’ve suffered from chronic hayfever since I was 11 years old with some years being so bad that I’m pretty much house bound for days at a time. I’ve tried EVERYTHING… from local honey to steroids with varying degrees of success (and side effects!). I tried acupuncture as a last resort two years ago and it’s genuinely the only thing that has worked. I don’t have to remember to take antihistamines every day, there are no side effects and it’s the most effective treatment that I’ve come across yet.”

Acupuncture focuses on treating “the Root and the Branch.” This means that treatment during the hay fever season will address the immediate symptoms, the itchy eyes, the stuffy nose etc, but most importantly preventative treatment will focus on treating the cause of your hay fever. The diagnosis will look at how your body responds to triggers, and why your immune system has such an extreme response to something as seemingly harmless as pollen.

Acupuncture treatment focuses on treating fundamental imbalances within a person, so regulation of the immune system will be a natural part of most treatment. Because of this, people who come for acupuncture for other reasons can often report an improvement in their hay fever symptoms. Tom (34) found that this was the case:

“After 5 summer of suffering from Hay fever quite badly I had been having acupuncture throughout winter and spring for other reasons but got to the time of year it would usually start and no symptoms at all – for the last 4/5yrs now!”

For more information and details of scientific research into the use of acupuncture for hay fever visit the British Acupuncture Council‘s fact sheet

To fund out more about how acupuncture can help you, please get in touch with us for a chat

People’s Acupuncture Project, Exeter

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Anxiety and Acupuncture

Are you Anxiety Aware. Mental Health Awareness Week 2014. 12-18 May.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (12-18 May 2014) with the theme of Anxiety, so we’d like to talk about anxiety and how acupuncture can help.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness. Normal anxiety, stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system, has its root in fear and serves an important survival function. In fact feeling anxious in response to unpleasant upcoming events such as a job interview or a medical test is perfectly normal. However, when that anxiety becomes persistent, irrational and excessive, it can begin to take over your life and is an indication that there is an imbalance in the sympathetic nervous system.

Chronic anxiety can involve uncontrollable and irrational worry about everyday things. It can be as severe as a panic attack, or it may be more of a generalized and unfocused feeling of unease. People often experience physical symptoms, such as breathlessness or a racing heart, which are usually a result of adrenaline (our fight or flight response hormone) acting on the body. The experience of anxiety is unique to each individual and people can experience very different symptoms.

How acupuncture can help

Conventional treatments for anxiety generally consist of drug therapies which, although helpful may have debilitating side effects or dependence. Acupuncture is a medication-free way to relieve anxiety with both immediate and long-lasting results.

Anxiety is one of the most common conditions that people come to me with, and we find acupuncture is a really effective treatment.  It can make a real difference to people’s lives, enabling them to feel calmer, happier and back in control. In fact it was Eleanor’s own experience of anxiety that first led her to try acupuncture many years ago, and the profound affect it had sparked her love of Chinese medicine.

In traditional acupuncture every patient is considered to be unique, and this means that there is no single treatment for each sufferer as each person has differing symptoms.  We aim to treat you as an individual, identifying the imbalances which cause your anxiety, not just treating the symptoms themselves. In traditional acupuncture, we see that mind and body are intrinsically linked, and therefore we treat you as a whole, mind and body.

Acupuncture treatment is enhanced when used alongside other self-help tools such as breathing techniques, exercise or mindfulness. We can develop a personalised ‘toolbox’ of techniques to help you manage your anxiety and enable you to retake control

How does it help?

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety by:

  • Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010).
  • Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; hence altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states (Lee 2009; Samuels 2008; Zhou 2008; Yuan 2007).
  • Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system (Arranz 2007). Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response.
  • Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety (Arranz 2007)
  • Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry (Kim 2009).

For details of further research and evidence of acupuncture effectiveness see the British Acupuncture Councils factsheet on anxiety here

If you suffer with anxiety and would like to have a chat about how acupuncture could help you, please give me a call on 07834 160906, or drop me an email

The Peoples Acupuncture Project, Exeter

 

References:

Arranz L et al. Effect of acupuncture treatment on the immune function impairment found in anxious women. American Journal of Chinese Medicine.  2007;35(1):35-51

Hui KK et al. Acupuncture, the limbic system, and the anticorrelated networks of the brain. Auton Neurosci. 2010 Oct 28;157(1-2):81-90.

Kim H  et al. The effects of acupuncture stimulation at PC6 (Neiguan) on chronic mild stress-induced biochemical and behavioral responses. Neuroscience Letters. 2009; 460 (1) (pp 56-60)

Lee B et al. Effects of acupuncture on chronic corticosterone-induced depression-like behavior and expression of neuropeptide Y in the rats. Neuroscience Letters 2009; 453: 151-6.

Samuels N et al. Acupuncture for psychiatric illness: a literature review.Behav Med 2008; 34: 55-64

Yuan Q. Li J.-N. Liu B. Wu Z.-F. Jin R. Effect of Jin-3-needling therapy on plasma corticosteroid, adrenocorticotropic hormone and platelet 5-HT levels in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.2007; 13 (4):  264-268.

Zhou Q et al. The effect of electro-acupuncture on the imbalance between monoamine neurotransmitters and GABA in the CNS of rats with chronic emotional stress-induced anxiety. Int J Clin Acupunct 2008 ;17: 79-84.