Acupuncture Hay Fever Study and on Being Cost-Effective
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21-Feb-2013 01:44 PM
A recent study in Germany showed that acupuncture was effective in reducing hay fever symptoms and the use of antihistamines but is another example of an ineffective way to use Chinese medicine. In this study, patients were given 12 treatments over an 8 week period. By now, many of you know I stress that the number and frequency of treatments are as important as the points themselves. This study did a good job in that respect. 12 treatments over 8 weeks should be a good way to space the treatments. The problem here is that hay fever and other chronic sinus issues, while treatable with acupuncture, are much easier AND MORE COST EFFECTIVE to control when Chinese herbs are used. Doing so allows you to keep the patients on herbs for months to wear-down chronic problems. Two months of acupuncture is not enough to wear-down a chronic problem like hay fever. In this study, the benefits wore off after 8 weeks.
Some patients may need both acupuncture and herbs and I often start patients with chronic sinus issues with a few acupuncture treatments to get off to a faster start but the herbs prove to be the main therapy over time to wear long-standing problems down. I sometimes tell patients the way to use these two therapies is like a stick-shift car: the acupuncture is like first and second gears and the herbs are like third and fourth gear. In this study, the researchers never got it out of second gear! The better you learn to use the different therapies we have available to us in Chinese medicine, the more cost effective your treatments will be. The more effective your treatments are, the better position you will be in to grow your practice.
Here is a link to an article on this study:http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256667.php
21-Feb-2013 02:50 PM
I would love to know some examples of a few herb formulas you favor. I do have to say though from personal experience that acupuncture and moxa can be enough though i agree that it takes longer and cost effectiveness is a question. i had horrible allergies from one to ten probably a 9. after a few months of weekly treatments i have about a 2 on the same scale. so in the long run i will save a ton of money because that was 9 or so years ago that i had treatments for that and i have stayed steady, though i do lots of other things like qigong which help keep me where i am at for sure. buti see many people for allergies and use herbs for some of the more chronic conditions so i guess after all of that typing i agree but i still would love to know what formulas you favor generally speaking
21-Feb-2013 03:13 PM
Hey Jim – good to hear about your success although I bet the moxa was an important factor that these researchers missed. There are three primary formulas we use – two of them patients from Mainland China the other produced here in the U.S. The two patients are Bi-Yan and Pe Min Kan Wan. The other is from Traditions of Tao and is called Allergy Tamer. I used to use Pe Min 80% of the time but eventually came to rely more on Bi-Yan because it is a bit less expensive. Pe Min can also have a slight stimulant function in some people but only a small percentage. Allergy Tamer is usually better from allergy related sinus issues but the thing is, any given person may do better on any of these three so we start with one and if we are not happy with it try another. Another great addition is Chuan XIn Lian if any heat (infection) signs – yellow mucous, fever or urine getting more concentrated. On the toughest cases, I will usually add Chuan Xin Lian for a month or so to cover that base. Some patients may need to be on herbs for 6 months or more and then learn how to take as needed. When you consider that a single treatment can cost more than a month’s worth of herbs (at least if the acupuncturists does not jack the prices of the herbs up too much) you see the cost-effectiveness issue. By the way – this is why I get skeptical about the promise of so-called “Integrative Medicine”. Chinese medicine has been trying to integrate acupuncture, moxa and herbs for 2,000 years and we still don’t have it work-out yet.
Thnaks for posting and let me know if you have any more questions. P.S. I also teach my chronic sinus patients to do self-acupressure. Every little bit counts.