For both Western and Eastern medicines, allergy issues—including allergic rhinitis, asthma, food sensitivities and anaphylaxis—prove challenging. Allergies occur when there is an exaggerated immune response (inflammation) to almost anything in the environment. An allergy may affect the upper airway (allergic rhinitis), the lungs (asthma), the esophagus (eosinophilic esophagitis), the skin (eczema), or the whole body/cardiovascular system (anaphylaxis). In Western medicine treatment options are comprised of allergen avoidance; antihistamines; inhaled, oral or IV steroids; and/or epinephrine.
In the West, we view minor allergies as annoyances, and major responses as severe disease. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), allergy of any severity signals more profound system imbalances, such as an “Internal Cold” condition, “Wei Qi” (host defense), or “Digestive Qi/Yang” deficiencies. While TCM attempts to correct these “root issues,” Chinese medicine had not, until recently, developed a dramatic strategy for allergy desensitization.
Any agent may trigger allergy’s exaggerated immune response: environmental aeroallergens such as pollens, grasses, trees, molds; animal danders or proteins; dust mites; foods, especially eggs, milk, nuts, shellfish, soy; insect venoms; oral and injectible pharmaceuticals; and chemicals such as latex. Rare individuals may even produce a true allergic skin reaction to the sun. Thanks to the recent work of Nader Soliman, MD, there now exists simple and effective allergy desensitization using ear (auricular) acupuncture.
Starting in 2002, and refined since 2009, Dr. Soliman combined his expertise in Auricular Acupuncture Therapy (ear acupuncture as developed by Paul Nogier MD) with his knowledge of muscle testing  to produce this highly effective desensitization technique (SAAT: Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment ). In June 2014, Dr. Soliman published a series of 40 patients treated with this technique who afterwards demonstrated allergy desensitization both by patient history and objective blood or skin testing . Since a 2011 technique refinement, he reports no allergy desensitization treatment failures in over 1,800 patients treated in his practice (source: personal communication).
For this procedure, 1 – 2 specific, very thin, needles are placed under the skin of the ear and remain in place for three weeks, while the allergen is avoided as much as possible. After needle removal, those with milder allergies may introduce a very small amount of the allergen (such as food, pets, etc.) and monitor for response. The goal is to attenuate (or possibly eliminate) allergic response to the allergen. Those with very severe reactions and anaphylaxis must continue strict allergen avoidance and carrying epinephrine, antihistamines and/or steroids: the goal is to attenuate possible accidental allergen exposure.
This therapy may also be beneficial as adjunctive support for ongoing inflammatory conditions and subclinical infections.
Dr. Villanova has been trained in this new technique, and started to offer it in July, 2014. This technique is offered as a stand-alone therapy, or as part of your more comprehensive evaluation and management.
Please contact Dr. Villanova if you have questions about whether or not One-Needle Allergy Desensitization Therapy may benefit you.
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