How Acupuncture Can Help Hay Fever

It’s hay fever season in London

It’s hay fever season in London

The end of April – particularly if it coincides with an onset of warmer weather – is the time when those of us suffering from hay fever often begin to experience the itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing, headaches and tiredness that heralds the start of a summer of misery. Advice ranges from simply avoiding the outdoors to taking daily doses of antihistamine tablets, neither of which seems a particularly attractive option for many of us.

But there is another way. Traditional Chinese medicine dating back thousands of years asserts that hay fever is closely linked to a deficiency of Qi in the lungs, kidneys or spleen. Qi (or Ch’i) is the vital energy whose flow must be balanced to keep us well and healthy – and in its absence, we can become more susceptible to environmental factors including the pollen that triggers hay fever.

Inserting Qi needles into acupuncture points brings the flow of Qi back into a healthy balance. So can acupuncture cure hay fever or help to alleviate its symptoms?

“Hay fever can very easily be treated by acupuncture over just a very small number of sessions,” says Gazelli House master of acupuncture and Oriental medicine Phoebus Tian. Phoebus suffered from bronchial and chest infections as a child, and when antibiotics and other Western treatments failed to alleviate his condition, his mother – a nurse trained in Western medicine who was sceptical of other approaches – was nevertheless persuaded by a colleague to try Eastern medical techniques. “After three weeks of acupuncture, my body was transformed,” says Phoebus.

Recent studies bear out Phoebus’ experience. Results of a trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013 found that after eight weeks, those subjects who received acupuncture (one-third of 422 participants) experienced noticeably fewer symptoms of hay fever than subjects in the control groups. A further study from 2015 confirmed the results, concluding that “four weeks of acupuncture treatment is a safe and effective option for clinical management”.

A technique suggested by Phoebus that you can try at home is to hold your hand with the palm facing you and locate the acupressure point – known as the Taiyuan – on the thumb side of the wrist crease. “Massage this point on both hands for two minutes every day,” he says. “It may boost the lung Qi, which will help with hay fever.”

If you would like to explore how acupuncture can help you, you can discover more about Phoebus here or read our Quick Guide to Acupuncture here.  

Or to find out more about specific treatments or book an appointment with Phoebus, email us here

The Gazelli House wellness space, at 174 Walton Street SW3 2JL, is a short walk from King’s Road, Chelsea, South Kensington station and Knightsbridge.