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Tom Laverick knows all about the misery of hay fever. And he tried every sort of treatment to fix it.

“I’ve suffered severely with hay fever since I was a young child,” said Tom, from York. “I kept being told I would grow out of it as I got older but I didn’t and, if anything, it probably worsened.”

He tried everything to treat it – tablets, nasal sprays, eye drops, “home remedies such as eating local honey”, and nothing worked.

Then he tried something different – acupuncture. He began with one treatment a week for three weeks.

“The success of the treatment was incredible. After just a couple of treatments, I was hardly suffering at all and it was first time I’d gone through an entire summer without having any nose bleeds, something I regularly suffered with at the height of the summer months.”

Three monthly acupuncture sessions followed to keep the symptoms at bay.

“It really did feel like the first time I’d actually been able to enjoy summer rather than dreading it and wanting to hide inside.”

Acupuncture week

A patient gets acupuncture treatment. Photograph: Northern College of Acupuncture

This is Acupuncture Awareness Week (March 6-12). It’s a chance for people to get their questions answered, like “Does acupuncture hurt? How does it work? Is treatment expensive?”

The Northern College of Acupuncture, based in York, is the only institution of its kind in the North of England.

The college has been training people to become acupuncture practitioners since 1988, and its founder, Dr Hugh MacPherson, was recently appointed the Britain’s first Professor of Acupuncture Research at the University of York.

Britain’s first Professor of Acupuncture Research, Dr Hugh MacPherson

College principal Richard Blackwell said: ”I’m delighted to hear of the impressive improvement in Tom’s hay fever symptoms.

“Many hay fever sufferers benefit from acupuncture, although Tom responded exceptionally well after a small number of treatments.

“Tom’s experience is backed up by a recent review of the research evidence published by Australian researchers which concluded that allergic rhinitis, which includes hay fever, is one of eight conditions for which there is strong evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness.”

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