As the weather warms up, you might have noticed your nose running and your eyes itching.
It's allergy season. While many people use medication for relief, more people are turning to acupuncture.
You might have heard that acupuncture can help relieve pain, but now more people are headed to Avera's Integrative Medicine Center for seasonal allergy relief.
"My eyes get so itchy sometimes I can hardly see," Joan Noerenberg said.
The 72-year-old has battled allergies for years and has tried dozens of different treatments with no relief. That's why she decided to incorporate acupuncture into her treatment plan.
"I think a lot of people end up looking for therapies like acupuncture if maybe some of the traditional therapies are not giving you good enough relief," Avera Dr. Dawn Flickema said.
Flickema says patients usually start with one or two treatments a week. After around five sessions, they evaluate to see how much the patient's condition has improved.
"Acupuncture does help with inflammation in the body. It also helps with blood flow, so it could help relieve congestion," Flickema said.
Flickema says some patients have been able to quit taking allergy medication. Others have been able to reduce their over-the-counter medicine use.
"Certainly if you are doing something like immunotherapy shots, we wouldn't encourage you to stop something like that, but some of your more PRN therapies you probably will be able to back off on some of it," Flickema said.
While several studies show acupuncture can help with seasonal allergies, researchers say more study is needed.
Researchers say there's not enough evidence yet to make acupuncture a stand-alone treatment for allergies, but Noerenberg says it's helped.
"It's not like it's going to last forever, but I could tell the difference," Noerenberg said.
A difference that Noerenberg is excited about this spring.
Avera is holding group acupuncture sessions for allergy sufferers.
Six treatments cost around $150.