How acupuncture cured Tom's hay fever misery

Tom Laverick suffered years of misery from hay fever until he tried acupuncture. Catherine Scott reports.

For Tom Laverick summer had become a season he dreaded from being a child.

Debilitating hay fever caused him problemsin lcuding nosebleeds, throughout his childhood and into adulthood.

“I’ve suffered severely with hay fever since I was a young child,” explains Tom.

“I kept being told I would grow out of it as I got older but I didn’t and, if anything, it probably worsened. “

He tried all conventional remedies from tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops.

“I even tried home remedies such as eating local honey, and nothing worked.”

Tom then started working at the in ICT at the Northern College of Acupuncture in York.

“Both my parents have had acupuncture over the last couple of years and had success with it so, having exhausted all of the previous treatments, I decided to try it for myself last summer when the symptoms flared up.”

Tom started by having one treatment per week for three weeks to combat the symptoms he was suffering from at the time.

He then had three monthly treatments to keep the symptoms at bay for the rest of the summer.

“I’d been told acupuncture didn’t hurt but still felt sceptical at the thought of all the needles. I honestly didn’t feel any pain though and actually found it to be a very relaxing experience.

“The success of the treatment was incredible. After just a couple of treatments, I was hardly suffering at all and it was first time I’d gone through an entire summer without having any nose bleeds, something I regularly suffered with at the height of the summer months.

“It really did feel like the first time I’d actually been able to enjoy summer rather than dreading it and wanting to hide inside. If anyone suffers from hay fever, I really couldn’t recommend acupuncture highly enough.”

NCA Principal, Richard Blackwell said: “I’m delighted to hear of the impressive improvement in Tom’s hay fever symptoms.

“Many hay fever sufferers benefit from acupuncture, although Tom responded exceptionally well after a small number of treatments. Tom’s experience is backed up by a recent review of the research evidence published by Australian researchers which concluded that allergic rhinitis, which includes hay fever, is one of eight conditions for which there is strong evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness.”

The Acupuncture Evidence Project, a large scale review of the evidence base, completed in Australia in 2017, has found acupuncture to be effective for 177 conditions. Most notably mentioned are: chemotherapy induced side effects, seasonal allergies, chronic low back pain, migraine prevention, chronic headaches, knee osteoarthritis and post-operative nausea and pain.

It is thought that acupuncture may have evolved from the practise of bloodletting which was common to nearly all primitive cultures, China being no exception. Medial texts from the Han Dynasty (200 BC) show detailed pictures of the vascular system, and the Nei Jing, a classical text on Chinese Medicine, indicates the transition from bleeding an area to needling a specific point.

Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body.

This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It’s likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.

A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used.

Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).

Practitioners who adhere to traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi doesn’t flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.

While it’s common knowledge that acupuncture is useful for pain, many people are unaware that it is also beneficial for mental-emotional conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Acupuncture Awareness Week takes place from from March 6 – 12. Supported by the British Acupuncture Council; AAW aims to better inform people about traditional acupuncture, as well as raise awareness of its benefits. The Northern College of Acupuncture in York, is the only institution of its kind in the North of England. Its founder, Dr Hugh MacPherson, is the UK’s first ‘Professor of Acupuncture Research’ at the University of York.

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