February 04, 2015

Acupuncture to Treat Allergy Symptoms (Where are the Spots?)

There has been increasing number of research and even support by the AAO-HNS Clinical Practice Guideline 2015 that acupuncture may help control allergies. According to the 2015 Guideline:
"STATEMENT 13. ACUPUNCTURE: Clinicians may offer acupuncture, or refer to a clinician who can offer acupuncture, for patients with AR who are interested in nonpharmacologic therapy. Option based on RCTs with limitations, observational studies with consistent effects, and a preponderance of benefit over harm." [link]
So assuming acupuncture helps with allergies, where exactly are those spots where needles (or even fingers) are placed?

Depending on the acupuncturist you see, there may be slight variations, but here are the usual 7 spots. Keep in mind that there may be numerous other locations that may be treated as well. Either needles (which works best) or finger acupressure can be used.

The first 6 are all located on the face (see pic). A person can easily self-administer acupressure correctly on all six points on the face using both their hands by placing the pinky on Large Intestine 20 (red), ring finger on Stomach 2 (blue), and middle finger on Bladder 2 (green). Somebody else will have to press at Spleen 5 (left ankle; see below). The arrows demonstrate the direction the pressure should be exerted.

• Large Intestine 20 (Red): Located just outside the nostrils. Acupressure with finger should be pressed diagonally upward, as if you’re aiming for your eye on the opposite side.
• Stomach 2 (Blue): Located just below the eye where the bone indents inward. Acupressure with finger should be pressed downward toward the mouth.
• Bladder 2 (Green): Located on the inner end of the eyebrow. Acupressure with finger should be pressed upward towards the top of the head.

The seventh location is on the LEFT ankle (Spleen 5).

Some other things to keep in mind:

• Acupuncture works better than acupressure.
• Acupuncture works better if administered BEFORE allergy symptoms occur as a preventative measure.
• Acupuncture can help minimize allergy symptoms even if you miss the preventative window.
• Acupuncture is especially helpful minimizing nasal drip, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches. It is not uncommon for people to notice an immediate clearing of the nasal passages after receiving these seven acupuncture points.

If acupressure is used, enough pressure should be exerted such that it "hurts good" and the pressure should be sustained for about 5-10 minutes.

So there you have it!

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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