|An allergy is a response by the body to a substance that
is inhaled, swallowed, or touched. The immune system
recognizes this intruder and triggers a chain of reactions
that cause symptoms such as sneezing, itchiness, watery
eyes, runny nose, and nasal congestion (stuffy nose).|
The real purpose of the immune system is to recognize
harmful invaders, such as bacteria and viruses (which can
cause infections), and to trigger a reaction to get rid of
them. But in people with allergies the immune system
overreacts to ordinarily harmless substances.
Allergies affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race or
socioeconomic factors. While it's true that allergies are more
common in children, they can occur for the first time at any
age or, in some cases, recur after many years of remission. An
estimated 25-40% of the population suffer from various
Although the exact genetic factors are not yet understood, the
tendency to allergies, as well as to allergic disease, is
linked to heredity. Hundreds or even thousands of ordinary
substances can trigger allergic reactions. These are called
"allergens." Among the most common are plant
pollens, molds, household dust (dust mites), animal dander,
industrial chemicals, foods, medicines and insect stings. An
allergic reaction may occur anywhere in the body, but usually
appears in the skin, eyes, lining of the stomach, nose,
sinuses, throat and lungs.
remedies can be categorized in three basic ways: avoidance and environmental controls (getting rid of mold and
mildew, dust mite bedding covers, and hepa air filters),
immunotherapy (allergy shots) and symptom relief (drugs such as
Clarinex, Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec).
Drug therapy is by far the most common allergy treatment
prescribed by conventional medicine. Drugs can be
successful in suppressing the manifestations of an allergy, but
in order to provide an effective relief often have to be
taken on a daily basis. They also produce undesirable side
effects, have various contraindications and might interfere
with other medications. Many people have been unsatisfied with
drug therapy, as it only gives temporary relief and does not
remove the underlying cause of an allergy.
The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life
energy called Qi (pronounced as "Chee") present in
every living creature. This energy is said to circulate
throughout the body along specific pathways that are called
meridians. As long as this energy flows freely along the
meridians, health is maintained. However, once the flow of energy
is blocked, the system is disrupted and illness occurs.
Oriental medicine aims to remove the blockages and restore the
normal flow of Qi, thus promoting the body's ability to heal
An allergy is defined in terms of what a substance does to
the energy flow in the body. When contact is made with an
allergen, it causes Qi blockages. The blocked energy flow is
the first step in a chain of events that can develop into an
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with acupuncture can either dramatically lessen someone's
allergic reactions or, in some cases, completely eliminate
them. Whether you're allergic to peanuts or shellfish, ragweed
or dog dander doesn't matter. An acupuncturist takes a
holistic approach and treats the individual rather than the
condition. The allergy symptoms, itchy, watery eyes, and the
stuffiness are a way of expressing a deeper down imbalance in
your system. By stimulating appropriate points along the
meridians acupuncture regulates the entire organism and
mobilizes the natural healing capacities of the body and mind.
Thus, instead of introducing chemicals such as an
antihistamine to control an allergic reaction, acupuncture
works with the person's internal "pharmacy."
information about allergies, please click here.