asthma, allergies and acupuncture :: guest post

So who says that I get to have all the fun writing for my blog? It's time to share the love! I have invited a number of people to share some words here on my blog, and we've got some fabulous people lined up. Yay! My first guest writer is from the acupuncture clinic where I am currently taking my son Oliver. He has suffered from seasonal allergies all of his life, and we haven't been able to find anything that helps him out. Even a little bit. Then we tried acupuncture, and SHA-ZAM! He had an amazing positive response right off the bat. I would highly recommend this clinic to all parents in the Twin Cities. They treat only kids, and have special ways of working with kids to make acupuncture less intimidating. They're fabulous.

Enough about me, here's Nancy from Pediatric Acupuncture and Wellness Center in St. Paul, MN.

Did you know that acupuncture works to help relieve the symptoms of allergies and asthma?  Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for centuries to successfully treat these conditions and many others.

Whether you have symptoms of asthma, allergies, or some other condition an acupuncturist will do an in depth interview at your first visit to learn many things about your health.  The acupuncturist will then analyze how you are doing and determine if your bodies systems are functioning in harmony.   After doing this diagnosis they will explain to you what they believe the problems are, what is causing them, and derive a treatment plan that will help you.  One of the bodies organ systems that is out of balance with both asthma and allergies is the lungs.

There are many factors that can cause the lungs to function poorly and be irritated.  Sometimes people are born with weak lungs or have lungs that are damaged by frequent or severe respiratory illnesses.  An acupuncturist knows how to increase lung function.  This is usually done using acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine.

Often pollutants and pollens overwhelm our lungs and cause them to react.  In the acupuncture profession we call these pollutants EPI’s.  That stands for external pathogenic influences or evil pathogenic invaders. The idea is that viruses, bacteria, pollens, pollutants, cold winter winds, dry air, and other intruders invade our bodies through our skin, mouth, and nose.  Your skin, mouth and nose are all pathways that lead directly to your lungs and it is through these entrances that nasty external pathogens make you sick or wear you down so that you become reactive.  Your acupuncturist will work to make your immunity stronger.   Acupuncturists know how to strengthen the external armor of your body so that your immunity is the defense that can stop the bad guys (the pathogens) at the door.  There are special herbs and acupuncture treatments designed to specifically help with this.

Generally speaking a part of any acupuncture plan for treating asthma and allergies includes keeping your immune system strong.  In addition to the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine it will enhance your recovery to receive dietary and lifestyles advice.

There are other things that can be causing reactive lungs such as your diet, too much stress, or your environment.

A clean, clear, bland diet is best, especially for children with asthma or allergies.  It is advisable to limit dairy, sugar, greasy foods, fast food, and processed foods.  These all can create phlegm and ultimately make lung problems worse.  Cold and raw foods are too hard to digest and also aggravate asthma or allergies.  I recommend using probiotics to help the digestion, increase immunity, and improve health.

In my career as an acupuncturist I have treated many children with asthma. Children who received simple acupuncture treatments weekly or bi-weekly for several months and took herbal medicine found that they used their inhalers less, participated in sports more, and showed increased lung function at their doctor visits.

For young children very few needles are used and they are retained a short time.  Often acupressure, pressure point beads, and magnets can be used on the acupuncture points in place of needles.  Scraping and massaging areas of the body, such as the upper back, can be a helpful technique used on children. In my clinic seasonal allergies are treated pro-actively by doing acupuncture and herbal medicine before the difficult season arrives.  This builds the immunity before the invaders begin to attack it.  Once the difficult season arrives the symptoms of the allergy attack are treated.  Herbs can be quite helpful with symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy watery eyes, and sore throat.   It is important to utilize a trained herbalist so that herbs are used correctly.

It is worthwhile to consider visiting an acupuncturist to discuss treatment of asthma and allergies. *Always see your MD or pediatrician for an initial diagnosis and the follow up appointments your doctor requests or if the symptoms seem severe or life threatening.

Nancy Anderson-Bierma has a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist with the Minnesota Medical Board.  She practices at Pediatric Acupuncture and Wellness Center in St. Paul, MN specializing in the treatment of children from infancy to young adulthood. Please contact her at or 651-644-4460. She has an additional practice in Roseville, Nancy Bierma Acupuncture - 651-303-2367.