How does acupuncture relieve allergy symptoms?


Preliminary studies (1, 2, 3) and two randomized controlled trials (1, 2) have found acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis. How does it work? Interleukin-1 receptor-α (IL1R1) is an encoded protein our body produces during an inflammatory immune response. Newer biologic medications target this receptor in the treatment of inflammatory, metabolic, malignant, and autoimmune diseases.

This small study included a DNA microarray analysis of participants’ blood and found diminished expression of IL1R1 for up to four weeks after acupuncture treatment. In tandem, participants reported a significant reduction in seasonal allergy symptoms. Late winter and early spring is an ideal time to start acupuncture treatment for springtime allergies, to bolster your immune system before the pollen count climbs to an uncomfortable level.


Do you have severe allergies and wonder if acupuncture can help you? I encourage you to call, email, or schedule a free consultation. I’ll be happy to share my experience and discuss what kind of improvement you might expect if we work together.


Betsy Gordon Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon specializes in holistic dermatology and the treatment of digestive, autoimmune, and allergic conditions. She provides a treatment plan which brings together traditional Chinese and functional medicine approaches.