Blade of grass with pollen allergen 01 Jul 2023

BY: Sunny Jaspal

Acupuncture / Blog / Conditions

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Can acupuncture help hay fever sufferers?
Blade of grass with pollen allergen


It’s that time of year again – hay fever season is upon us

Some of us have already been suffering from various tree pollens, others may just be starting to feel the effects of grass and weed pollen. If you suffer with seasonal allergic rhinitis it’s a good idea to check a pollen calendar for your area, such as this one which looks at pollen counts here in the East of England and across the country.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis is the most common immunological disease affecting 10–15% of children and 26% of adults in the UK (GK Scadding et al, 2017). Allergies such as seasonal allergic rhinitis can make life miserable and should not be underestimated. Risk of depression in allergic rhinitis suffers (including perennial allergic rhinitis) is between 20 – 40% (Mou, Ya-Kui et al, 2022). Allergic rhinitis can trigger depression (Nian-Sheng Tzeng et al, 2018).

With hay fever on the rise, apparently having trebled in the last 20 years (Lee, 2003) you may be wondering what you can do if you wish to avoid the many symptoms associated with this illness?

Acupuncture may be helpful

Recent clinical trials have shown that acupuncture is effective in the symptomatic treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis (Xue CC et al, 2007).  Acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits when used alongside routine care (Brinkhaus B et al, 2008). In the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis in children, acupuncture was effective in reducing symptom free days, and more effective than sham acupuncture (Ng DK et al, 2004).

The results from systematic reviews are mixed. A review looking at ear acupuncture for allergic rhinitis found it was as effective as body acupuncture in the short term, and more effective than antihistamines in the long term. However, due to the low quality of research the benefits are unknown (Zhang CS et al, 2010). Another review found efficacy for perennial but not seasonal rhinitis (Lee MS et al. 2009). A review from Xiao L et al, 2009 review found acupuncture and moxibustion to be effective. However due to the low quality of research a firm conclusion could not be drawn. And one more review was unable to draw firm conclusion due to insufficient evidence (Roberts J et al, 2008).



Woman with hay fever sneezing 25 Jun 2019

BY: Sunny Jaspal

Acupuncture / Blog / Conditions

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Acupuncture and Hay Fever

Woman with hay fever sneezing in a field of rape.The symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, can sometimes be difficult to manage. Perhaps you are someone who doesn’t like to take medicine if there is an alternative approach. Or maybe you find that conventional medicine doesn’t help. I was in the latter group, but by using acupuncture my hay fever symptoms have gone from severe to occasional and very mild.

The research on acupuncture for allergic rhinitis is mixed, with some studies showing that acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment for allergic rhinitis with benefits over conventional medicine, however other studies state that further trials are needed to access effectiveness. More recently trials have found that acupuncture used alongside routine care for allergic rhinitis has shown benefits.

Studies have also shown how acupuncture may work by regulating mediators of the allergic reaction, stimulating nerves to reduce pain and reducing inflammation.

A typical treatment for hay fever involves using acupuncture points on the arms and legs, plus the face and head. Acupuncture needles are very fine, and even finer needles are used on sensitive areas such as the face.

Acupuncture needles are very fineA course of 6 treatments is recommended to treat the symptoms. To treat the root cause of hay fever, a further course of 6 treatments is recommended in the autumn or winter to avoid the recurrence of symptoms the following year.

Questions about treatment? Want to find out more?
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