Case Studies

Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Allergies

Kristen Sparrow • June 29, 2014

Agirl-with-cold-or-allergycupuncture cured my allergies 18 years ago, so I’ve always had a special interest and focus on allergy treatment. The ability to help allergies with acupuncture particularly fascinated me, because of the potential for immune function optimization.   This article talks about moxibustion in particular, which we used extensively when I was in training.  It is more difficult to use in the clinic here because of smoke detectors and social norms, but it is ideal for home use and can be used safely for children also.

The Huangdineijing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) states, “A person who has vigorous anti-pathogenic qi is never affected by any kind of evil; a person who is invaded by an evil must have weak anti-pathogenic qi.” Generally speaking, the course of disease is actually the process of struggle between the anti-pathogenic qi and pathogenic factors. If the anti-pathogenic qi wins the struggle, the person will be fine. If the pathogenic factors win the struggle, the person will get sick with an allergy, common cold or other similar condition.
To translate this into the Western medicine standpoint, anti-pathogenic qi refers to the normal function of the immune system. The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within a living organism that protects against invading agents that may cause disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of substances (pathogenic factors) such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, and distinguish them from the body’s own healthy tissue.2 …
Scientific research has been done in order to investigate the regulative effect of moxa-cone moxibustion on the phagocytic function of macrophages and provide experimental data for the study of other moxibustion methods. A group of 130 mice were divided into a normal control group – a moxibustion group- a hypoimmune-model group, and a hypoimmune-plus-moxibustion group. Flow cytometry and smear examination were adopted to observe phagocytosis of macrophages in these groups. The results showed that moxa-cone moxibustion of acupoint Dazhui (Du14) had no significant influence on phagocytosis of macrophages in the normal mice whereas it exerted marked enhancing effect on phagocytosis of macrophages in the hypoimmune mice.3 The study reported that moxibustion on Dazhui (Du14) can strengthen the respiratory function including allergy cases.
Some researchers’ results showed that moxibustion of Dazhui (GV14) can restrain the secretion of interleukin 4 (IL-4), relieve the inflammatory reaction of immunoglobulin E (IgE), and enhance the ratio of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) to IL-4 in asthmatic rats, which presents an increased tendency of the curative effect along with the extension of the treatment time from 15 minutes to 60 minutes. Excessively long time (>60 minutes) of treatment is not necessary.4