Updated: Jan 1, 2022
Acupuncture for your Immune System
As we focus on our health and wellness in these Covid-19 times, questions about how to stay healthy and maintain a vibrant immune system are on our minds. There is a lot we can do to achieve optimal health, wellness, stay healthy and fight off any potential viruses.
In Chinese Medicine it’s all about Balance. So how do we achieve this balance? It’s quite simple and actually not as hard as it seems.
How does Acupuncture help your Immune System ?
The equivalent of our immune system in Chinese Medicine is called Wei Qi or Defensive Qi. It is the first line of defense to protect the body from bacterial and viral pathogens. A strong Wei qi (immune system) acts as a barrier that protects and defends the body against any foreign substance which lead to illness and diseases. However, when weak, it decreases the body’s ability to protect from external pathogens and one’s health is compromised.
Regular acupuncture treatments strengthen, support and rebalance the immune system providing the body with proper tools to fend off any colds or flus. As well, acupuncture stimulates Wei qi ( immune system ) so when you feel a cold coming on, acupuncture can shorten the length of the cold or prevent it completely from taking you out for the count.
Acupuncture and Allergies
An allergy is an excessive reaction by the immune system to a normally harmless substance as a great threat to the body. The common substances that cause allergies are called allergens. The substances include foods, pollen, dander, mold, drugs and dust mites. You can be a victim of allergy due to contact with allergens or an increase in air pollution. However, there are more factors that can trigger it including stress, fatigue, dietary-vitamin deficiency and lack of exercise.
In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) an allergic reaction is a manifestation of the body's difficulty to adjust to its environment. We therefore treat the allergic person, not the allergies. According to the concept of the organ system paradigm and their functions in TCM, weaknesses.
In a weakened state, it will be vulnerable to these substances. The immune system or Wei Qi meanwhile helps the body adapt to its environment. If compromised an exaggerated response to allergens will occur and the appearance of the symptoms described above.
Other systems may also influence the severity and chronicity of the symptoms. After assessment, I will be able to explain the clinical patterns involved according to TCM principles.
Most of the time, you will find allergies are seasonal, but it can also be present around the year. Spring is traditionally the season when allergies blossom because of the new growth on trees and weeds. The second season is the fall when one can have allergies. But airborne mold spores can be found all year round along with some common allergens like dust, mites and animal dander. Although they affect different people in different ways, the main symptoms include red eyes, itchy palate, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and difficulty in breathing. All these symptoms may be accompanied by headache, a rash or a sinusitis in some cases
SEASONAL ALLERGY SYMPTOMS WE TREAT
Post nasal drip
Loss of smell
How Does Acupuncture Help?
By stimulating the Wei Qi / Immune system the acupuncture treatment aims to calm the exaggerated response to the allergens. When symptoms are not so present, the treatment will aim to balance and strengthen the identified TCM disharmonies that contribute to the problematic. Acupuncture treatments for allergies have therefore a preventative and therapeutic aspect. It is recommended that patients consult before the season or onset of symptoms to obtain better results. The objective is to build up a treatment plan that eases your acute symptoms while dealing with the underlying immune system discrepancy. Our treatments also include lifestyle and nutritional recommendations. Diet plays an important role in controlling seasonal allergies. Sweets, dairy products and cold foods lead to mucus build up. And when excessive mucus accumulates in the system, the allergens stimulate a much stronger allergic reaction. Treatment will include foods that are easy for the body to digest. When digestion is smooth, there is a less tendency for mucus build up.
Studies Show Acupuncture
Can strengthen a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T-cell count
Exert anti-inflammatory effects (IgE, IgM)
Enhance humoral and cellular immunity in patients with immune related illnesses.
What the research says
Biomedicine And Acupuncture
· The researchers note potential biological mechanisms making acupuncture effective for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. One mechanism is the ability of acupuncture to modulate cytokines, which are immune system cell secretions, and another is the ability of acupuncture to induce anti-inflammatory actions. The researchers identified changes in IgE as a result of acupuncture treatment for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. IgE is a class of immunoglobulins including antibodies that react to pollen, spores, animal dander and othe substances. IgE levels often rise significantly during allergic reactions. The researchers note, “Our meta-analysis of serum IgE levels in three included trials showed a significant decrease of IgE for the acupuncture group compared with the control group. This result showed strong and consistent evidence that acupuncture treatment leads to favorable responses in immunologic outcomes, which have been shown to be helpful in trials of proven therapeutic modalities, such as allergen-specific immunotherapy.” https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1420-acupuncture-soothes-allergies-sinus
Maria Mitchell L.Ac.