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Some Turning To Acupuncture For Allergy Relief

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The watery eyes, the sneezing, the itchy skin; the list goes on if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Maybe you've tried allergy shots or prescription medication.

CBS 2's Mary Kay Kleist reports that some people have been getting relief from a way you may not have thought of – acupuncture.

The trees, the flowers, the weather – a beautiful sight this time of year, unless you're allergic to seasonal offenders, like ragweed.

"I was allergic to every single ragweed there is. There's about 3 different kinds," said Laura Glynn of Chicago, who suffered from allergies for years. "When you wake up and feel pretty lousy and you're sneezing and your eyes are all watery and red, it's pretty uncomfortable."

She tried countless medications, but "sometimes the side effects make you feel worse than the actual allergy itself."

So, instead of allergy shots or prescription drugs, some people are turning to ancient the Chinese medicine of acupuncture for relief.

"These needles here are gonna help kind of push the phlegm out, that drippy feeling in the back of your throat," licensed acupuncturist Michelle Goebel-Angel said. "(It) helps with post-nasal drip, because really the goal is to move the phlegm out of the body."

During an acupuncture treatment for allergies, about a dozen ultra-thin needles are strategically placed.

"We can do a lot of needling in the upper body area and in the face to relieve some sinus blockages," Goebel-Angel said.

She said an important part of treating allergies is boosting the body's 'chi' or energy flow.

"We're getting to the root, so we're actually changing the way the body works to help it heal, so hopefully we don't have future attacks and outbreaks," Goebel-Angel said.

Asked if people who undergo acupuncture treatment for allergies can go off prescription medication altogether, she said, "some people can get away from the decongestants."

After a year of treatments, Glynn has gone off all of her medications. She comes once a month now to make sure the sniffles stay away.

She said the acupuncture "absolutely" has taken care of her allergies and continues to do so.
Acupuncture treatments at the Raby Institute in Chicago cost $150 for the first visit, and $100 for each additional treatment. It's sometimes covered by insurance.

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