Woman with Allergies Acupuncture

Long Term Relief With Acupuncture.

San Francisco Acupuncture for Allergies

Kristen Sparrow, MD Acupuncture, the secret weapon against Allergies

My Story:

I had allergies my whole life, and had to leave my Anesthesiology career because of them.  During my Acupuncture training  I had two series of Acupuncture treatments for my allergies including atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. I was amazed when my allergies disappeared.   Acupuncture has been so valuable to me and my family that I made it my career.  Over the years I’ve developed my own protocols to help patients with allergies, and have become fascinated with the science behind it.

The Science:

Recent guidelines from the Taskforce on Allergies from the Society for Ear, Nose and Throat specialists recommend acupuncture for patients who desire or require natural treatment for allergies.

One of my patients says,

“After just the first few treatments, I have been able to take no pills and still go comfortably to homes of friends with cats and dogs. After a year, it’s even better.” * To read his full testimonial please click here.  For a recent blog post with additional information, click.

Cost information here.

Call me  415-775-0117 or email me at kristen@ksparrowmd.com and we can discuss how and if I can help you.  I will do my best to fit you in for an appointment.  I know you have better things to do with your time than spend it in a doctor’s office, so I promise you to be punctual, efficient and attentive. How great is that!

[expand title=”Question : How many acupuncture treatments will it take to alleviate my allergies?” alt=”click for more”]Answer : I ask patients to commit to 6 treatments within a month. I also ask patients to see these treatments as an investment in themselves and their health.  Of course we all worry about the cost of treatment, but especially with acupuncture for allergies the benefits are so long lasting that it makes good monetary sense too. Usually there will be two more weekly treatments and then the treatments are spaced out to once a month. Sometimes one can see improvement immediately after treatment, but sometimes it can take a few treatments to improve. It’s important to complete the series; otherwise you’ve wasted your time and money.[/expand]

[expand title=”Question : Doesn’t this take a lot of time? How long are the appointments?” alt=”click for more”] A: I treat a  broad spectrum of people from CEO’s, to retirees, to new mothers, to entrepreneurs. They actually look forward to the relaxation, time out, and respite that the treatment affords them. They can bring up any new issues, pains or health issues and we can address them then and there and nip problems in the bud before they develop into something more serious. They see the treatments as a way to ward off problems and keep them calm, balanced and productive.


title=”Question : How much will this cost me?  ” alt=”click for more”] A:Initial visit is $105, subsequent visits are $82. Most of my patients opt for packages of acupuncture appointments, since for most conditions they will require a series of treatments. The packages cost $275 for four visits. Seniors and the disabled cost $225 for four visits.When you consider the multiple benefits listed below, better sleep, better mood, less illness, less pain, for less than the cost of a psychotherapy appointment or massage, the value is considerable.  Not to mention it’s a sort of medical insurance policy to keep you well, an investment in your heath.


title=”Question : What about my medications?  ” alt=”click for more”] A:You  can continue to take your allergy medicine during treatment, but the goal is to decrease or stop them eventually.


title=”Question : Do I have to keep having acupuncture treatment for the rest of my life?  ” alt=”click for more”] It depends. Sometimes people are fine after a treatment series and I never see them again. Once I was treated and my allergies went away, I needed no more specific allergy acupuncture treatment. I do take herbal supplements for health and anti-aging however.[/expand] [expand
title=”Question : Is there any evidence that acupuncture helps allergy?  ” alt=”click for more”]?Evidence: An Australian study¹ found that acupuncture was effective for persistent allergic rhinitis. The study divided the study population into 2 groups. One received real acupuncture, and one received “fake” or sham acupuncture. They were treated twice weekly for 8 weeks, then followed up for another 12 weeks. Nasal obstruction, sneezing, rhinorrhea and nasal itch were each self-assessed daily on a 5-point scale, and scores were aggregated weekly. The total scores for the real acupuncture group were better by far than the sham acupuncture group at the end of the treatment weeks as well as after the follow up period.


There was a recent 2012 study comparing acupuncture to anti-histamines to the itch of atopic dermatitis and their conclusion was that both acupuncture and the antihistamine reduced type I hypersensitivity itch in patients with atopic dermatis, compared with both placebo and NI.  A group in Rome has done extensive work on Nerve Growth Factor and its role in acupuncture, allergy and influence on the central and peripheral nervous system.

There is much interplay in the human body between the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. Cytokines, including IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, and TNF-alpha,are important mediators of the immune response and play a key role in the diseases by acting on inflammatory immune cells, neuronal cells, muscle cells, and vessel cells. Interestingly, some cytokines (e.g. TNF-alpha, IL-2, TGF-beta) are also able to regulate synaptic plasticity and affect CNS functions. The neurotrophins and cytokines release in response to various stimuli, such as electronic stimulation, or inflammation. This crosstalk from PNS to CNS is involved in the pathophysiology of many human diseases and may contribute to the effects of acupuncture.

There is also experimental evidence³ that the electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve inhibits macrophage activation and the production of TNF, IL-1beta , IL-6, IL-18, and other proinflammatory cytokines. The systemic anti-inflammatory actions of traditional and electro-acupuncture are directly or indirectly mediated by the efferent vagus nerve activation and inflammatory macrophage deactivation.[/expand]

For a study on acupuncture and eczema, please click here.
Call (415) 775-0117 to schedule  appointment


1 Acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis: a randomised, sham-controlled trial. Med J Aust. 2008 Jan 7;188(1):64, Division of Chinese Medicine, School of Health Sciences, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. charlie.xue@rmit.edu.au

3 The neuroimmune basis of anti-inflammatory acupuncture. Kavoussi B, Ross BE. Integr Cancer Ther. 2007 Sep;6(3):251-7 Southern California University of Health Sciences, College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Whittier, CA, USA. kavoussi@ucla.edu