An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system, and can be in response to environmental or dietary allergens.
Symptoms can include sinus congestion; runny nose; coughing; sneezing; headache; red, itchy, or tearing of the eyes; skin reactions such as itchiness, eczema, or hives; or an asthma attack. These symptoms can subsequently lead to fatigue, poor sleep, and dark bags under the eyes. An allergen is a normally harmless substance in the environment that causes a reaction in those who are allergic to said allergen. The reaction causes an inflammatory response in the body that can range from uncomfortable (ex: typical “hay fever” symptoms) to dangerous (ex: anaphylactic shock in people with peanut allergies). There are over-the-counter and prescription medications for allergies, and different people will experience varying degrees of alleviation of their symptoms.
Studies (see here, here, here, here, and here) have shown that acupuncture is effective in treating the symptoms associated with allergies, including the severity of the symptoms, as well as the number of days per month that patients experience their allergy-related symptoms. After an initial round of treatments, most patients will come in for monthly, preventative treatments, or will schedule treatments based on the seasons and weather patterns that affect them, personally. For example, a patient with an allergy to cat dander may come in monthly, whereas a person with traditional seasonal allergies will come in in early spring/autumn, or just before a round of Santa Ana winds come into town.