Seasonal Allergies in New York City


New Yorkers love springtime.  Winter hibernation is over and we are instantly out enjoying the parks and the city.  But for many, spring time means seasonal allergies and hay fever.  And that means sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, headaches, skin irritation, and tickling in your throat.

Allergies are worse in the Northeast

It is estimated that 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.  And according to Greg Kress, the owner of, allergies are worse in the Northeast part of the country.  That means that a lot of those 35 million are living in our neck of the woods. And although we are a big city, we also have a lot of trees, grasses, and flower spreading their pollen, so New Yorker’s with allergies don’t get a free pass.

The good news for some, and bad news for others, is that according to Kress’s prediction, this year will be about the same intensity as last year.

What causes allergies?

Seasonal allergies are reactions to pollen spread by the wind.  Generally, allergies are worse from the end of March to June, but, depending on what plant you are allergic to, there are those who also suffer from allergies in the summer and fall as well.

When you breathe in the pollen, your body reacts as if the it were a disease causing pathogen and starts an immune reaction to combat it.  Antibodies attach the allergen and then histamines are released into the blood, which cause the symptoms.

Allergies can seriously impact your life

Everyone knows that the symptoms of allergies can are painful and uncomfortable, but it can also lead to other more severe adverse effects.

Allergies affect your productivity at work and school.  Currently, some scientists are starting to explore a link between depression, fatigue, insomnia, and allergies.

Natural Treatments of Allergies

The best thing to avoid allergies is to avoid the allergen.  But that’s not always possible, especially when the allergen is floating in the air we breathe.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are becoming more popular to treat allergies.  I see many patients to reduce allergies and prevent them.  It also is an effective drug free choice which has no side effects.  Unlike antihistamines, acupuncture does not make you drowsy.  Acupressure is also helpful.

How does Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat allergies?

Acupuncture stimulates the body to heal itself by activating and deactivating parts of the brain. This is possibly how it regulates sweating. Sweating is controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Using an fMRI, a type of brain scan, acupuncture has been shown to activate the hypothalamus to decrease pain and regulate hormones. It is possible that it also works to regulate excess sweating through this part of the brain.

Most often I use acupuncture points and electroacupuncture on the back that help to calm the mind and the body. I find this type of treatment is most effective for hyperhydrosis.

Joseph Alban

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.

Joseph Alban is a Doctor of Acupuncture, New York Licensed Acupuncturist, and NCCAOM Board Certified Herbalist providing the highest quality Acupuncture and Chinese medicine care tailored to your needs.

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