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Do you suffer from hayfever?

After suffering from hay fever throughout her adult life, Helen Cahill found relief in a dozen sterile needles. She told Health Editor MADELEINE BRINDLEY how acupuncture has set her free from her annual hay fever misery

FOR years Helen Cahill was dependent on nasal sprays, eye drops and tablets to help her through the annual hay fever season.

On days when the pollen count was particularly high, she would close all the windows and not leave home.

But the 53-year-old, who lives in Peterston Super Ely, has now found drug-free relief for her hay fever symptoms after undergoing acupuncture.

The regular sessions of the complementary therapy have left her symptom-less and allowed her to get on with her life without the worry and inconvenience of suffering hay fever’s flu-like symptoms.

Helen, a project worker, first started suffering from hay fever at the age of 17.

“I wouldn’t say that I was an extreme case, but I was very aware of it – if I was going out at the weekend, I’d go to the seaside rather than the country.

“When I lived in London I didn’t have it as much, and it has come in phases. I live in the countryside now so I’m much more aware of it.

“I’d used eye drops, nasal sprays and tablets, which did work, but the tablets made me feel drowsy and you would have to remember to take them regularly.

“You couldn’t just decide to take them when you had the symptoms.”

She added: “I’d been thinking for some time that I’d had enough of the tablets and nasal sprays after all these years and wanted something, an alternative that was less chemical and more natural, as a treatment.”

Helen opted for acupuncture after a casual conversation with running partner Jackie Brown, who is the clinical director of the Natural Health and Fertility Clinic in Whitchurch.

During the acupuncture treatment, she had fine sterile needles inserted into her face, hands, wrists and legs. She said she noticed a difference after just one session.

“I felt the benefits of the acupuncture almost immediately after the first session,” Helen said.

“My nose dried up, stuffiness was eased and eyes were no longer itchy and sore. It also helped with the itchy throat although I still have to use eye drops when the pollen count is very high.

“I felt full of life and the lethargy and sleepiness brought on by the tablets and condition, was lifted. It was marvellous.

“The important thing for me and, I expect, other sufferers, is to start the course of treatment in April before the onset of any symptoms.

“I have found that each year the symptoms have reduced and this could be as a result of the acupuncture.

“Acupuncture has no side effects, there is an immediate response. It is gentle and relaxing.”

She added: “Whereas before I was faced with being virtually locked inside my home with doors and windows firmly shut during, what was for me, the miserable months of May and June, now I can go outside with confidence even during the highest pollen days.

“I was a teeny bit sceptical at first but nevertheless I wanted to give it a try. I’m really glad that I did and now wouldn’t be without the acupuncture sessions.”

Helen, whose hay fever is worst in late spring and early summer, has two acupuncture sessions every April and four more during May.

“It has been a revelation. The sessions themselves are relaxing and soothing in a wonderfully comfortable room at the clinic equipped with low lighting and soothing music.

“The acupuncture has really helped to enable me to participate in sports again during these months. It stops my runny and blocked nose and the general feeling of debilitation associated with taking tablets.

“I am now confident to go out on long walks in the countryside with my 12-year-old cocker spaniel Amos and he is delighted.

“This is all thanks to my newfound freedom from sniffles, horrendous sneezes and streaming eyes. I can’t thank Jackie enough for what she has given me.”

Acupuncture has had mixed results in clinical trials, but research published in 2007 in the Medical Journal of Australia, has shown that it can help relieve the symptoms of chronic hay fever.

Charlie Xue, a professor of Chinese medicine at RMIT University in Melbourne, found that two months of acupuncture reduced the symptoms of persistent sneezing, itchy and blocked nose for at least three months. And Daniel Maxwell, of the British Acupuncture Council, said: “It is great for hay fever because of the significant effect it has on modulating the immune system.”

Jackie Brown said: “Acupuncture is often effective treatment for hay fever. The effect of acupuncture can be immediate.

“Although the effect can be instantaneous, it is common for the effect to wear off and the symptoms to return after a while. When this happens another treatment is needed.

“Consecutive acupuncture treatment prolongs the desirable effects or, in other words, acupuncture has an accumulative effect.

“As each person is different and lifestyles vary it is difficult to say how many treatments will be needed to bring about a positive effect.

“I recommend two treatments in the first week and weekly treatments after that for about six weeks. It is best to start before the hay fever season begins for maximum effect as this will strengthen the immune system and your body is ready to deal with the pollen when it comes.”

‘I’d had enough of the tablets and nasal sprays and wanted something, more natural as a treatment’

Contact The Natural Health Centre 086-1550442 for more information.


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