Allergies treated with acupuncture show very significant results in several research studies dealing with allergic rhinitis.
…allergic rhinitis is a nasal hypersensitivity reaction to allergens. Common triggers include irritants such as dust mites, animal dander, and pollens. Reactions include nasal congestion, rhinorrhea (“runny nose”), sneezing, and pruritus (severe itching). Allergic rhinitis affects approximately 1.4 billion people with increasing numbers. Medications used to combat allergic rhinitis include antihistamines, corticosteroids, mast cell stabilizers, anticholinergics, and antileukotrienes (1).
Acupuncture may help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for people with perennial allergic rhinitis, and may help with seasonal allergies. too, according to several studies. Thus it could be an option for people looking for nonpharmaceutical treatments (2).
In a study of 85 people with chronic rhinitis, the total effective rate of acupuncture was 96.5%. After two courses of treatment, 61 cases obtained recovery, 21 cases obtained a marked effect and 3 cases had no effect. Each participant had 2 courses of treatment 1x per day for 15 days in each course (3).
In a comparison study, patients treated with acupuncture were compared to those treated with loratadine for allergic rhinitis. During a ten week follow-up after therapy documents 80% of the acupuncture patients demonstrated lasting improvement. At the ten follow up, 0% of the loratadine study group patients demonstrated lasting improvement. The researchers stated, Both in the acupuncture and the loratadine group a significant improvement was gained under therapy. In the ten-week period following the therapy, a significant deterioration which led to the recurrence of the allergic symptoms was shown in the loratadine group, while the significant improvement of the symptoms persisted in the acupuncture group… The researchers conclude, Acupuncture is a clinically effective form of therapy in the treatment of patients suffering from persistent allergic rhinitis (4).
In another study, investigators at RMIT University in Melbourne (Australia) studied 80 patients with chronic rhinitis. In a three month follow-up, nose and eye symptoms related to chronic rhinitis improved significantly for the acupuncture group. Members of the acupuncture group were also able to reduce the use of allergy medications. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis (5).
1. Healthcare Medical Institute. Acupuncture Soothes Allergies & Sinus, 22 JANUARY 2015
2. NPR, Your Health, Acupuncture May Help With Nasal Allergies, Doctors Say, Nancy Schute.
3. Hua. “Treatment of 85 Cases with Chronic Rhinitis by Acupuncture.” J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. 2010, 8 (5): 318.
4. Feng, Shaoyan, Miaomiao Han, Yunping Fan, Guangwei Yang, Zhenpeng Liao, Wei Liao, and Huabin Li. “Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy 29, no. 1 (2015): 57-62.
5. RMIT University School of Health Sciences. 2006. Evaluation of efficacy and safety of acupuncture in the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis.
Jeffrey Russell is a practitioner of acupuncture in Louisville, KY. His clinic is Abacus Chinese Medicine–Louisville Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism. 502.299-8900.