Acupuncture for hay fever symptoms
Hay fever sufferers might find some extra relief by adding acupuncture to their treatment plan.
sufferers might find some extra relief by adding acupuncture to their treatment plan.
In many countries, acupuncture has become a popular alternative therapy for allergic rhinitis
, more commonly known as hay fever. But the few studies that have been conducted on the treatment have produced conflicting results.
To investigate, researchers from Germany followed 5,237 adults suffering from seasonal or year-long allergic rhinitis. Of these patients, 487 were randomly assigned to undergo up to 15 acupuncture sessions, delivered by a physician over three months; another 494 were randomly assigned to a control group in, which patients stayed with their standard treatment alone.
The rest of the study group (4,256 patients in all) did not want to be randomly assigned and instead chose to have acupuncture. All patients were surveyed about their quality of life at the study's start, at the end of the three-month treatment period, and again three months later.
After the treatment was completed, It was found that acupuncture patients reported greater gains in quality of life compared with the control group. The difference was still present, although waning, three months later. Overall, acupuncture patients reported bigger gains in their quality of life - reporting that symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny nose and poor sleep were taking less of a toll on their daily lives.
Acupuncture has been used for more than 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. According to traditional medicine, specific acupuncture points on the skin are connected to internal pathways that conduct energy, or qi (pronounced "chee"), and stimulating these points with a fine needle promotes the healthy flow of qi. There is some research evidence that acupuncture might influence immune system activity, which in theory could help explain its benefits for hay fever sufferers.
Whatever the mechanism, the researchers recommend that hay fever sufferers who are interested in acupuncture should give it a try. Acupuncture can be considered an effective and safe treatment option for patients with allergic rhinitis.
Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
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