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  • Writer's picturePhoebus Tian

What are the benefits of using acupuncture for hay fever prevention and treatment?

Updated: Mar 16

In recent years, acupuncture has become an alternative treatment for various medical conditions. A recent study conducted in China has shed light on the effectiveness of acupuncture in preventing and treating moderate to severe seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Acupuncture for Hay fever
Acupuncture for Hay fever

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, affects millions worldwide. An allergic reaction to airborne substances such as pollen, dust mites, and animal dander causes it. The symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, nose, and throat.

The study, which was published in the Acupuncture China, involved 105 participants who were randomly assigned to the acupuncture group and control group. The acupuncture group used Yin Tang, LI 20 (Ying Xiang), LI 4 (He Gu), ST 36 (Zu San Li), GB20 (Feng Chi), BL 13 (Fei Shu), BL 20 (Pi Shu), BL 23 (Shen Shu), DU14 (Da Zhui).

The participants underwent twelve sessions of acupuncture treatment over four weeks; no intervention was given before the exacerbation period in the control group, and appropriate emergency medication was provided in both groups during the exacerbation period. The results showed that the acupuncture group significantly improved their allergy symptoms especially compared to the control group. The acupuncture group also reported lower use of antihistamines.

In Chinese medicine, allergic rhinitis is closely related to the Lung, Spleen and Kidney. The pathogenesis of the disease is the lack of consolidation of Lung qi, Spleen and kidney deficiency, and the gathering of evil in the nasal passages. DU 14 is an essential acupoint of the DU Vessel, where the Yang meridians meet, stimulating the Yang energy of the body, regulating the Qi and blood around the body, strengthening and nourishing the deficiency as well as cultivating the vital energy; BL 13 (Fei Shu), BL 20 (Pi Shu), BL 23 (Shen Shu) can regulate the Qi of the corresponding internal organs and improve their functions.

The findings suggest acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option for people with moderate to severe seasonal allergic rhinitis. It could be considered an alternative or complementary therapy to conventional treatments such as antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids. This study provides promising evidence for using acupuncture to prevent and treat moderate to severe seasonal allergic rhinitis.

For those seeking alternatives to pharmaceutical treatments, acupuncture offers a non-drug approach that can reduce or eliminate the need for daily allergy medications and their potential side effects. Beyond targeting hay fever symptoms, acupuncture is known for promoting relaxation and stress reduction. By improving overall well-being, it can help individuals manage their symptoms better and potentially reduce the frequency of hay fever episodes. It provides a holistic treatment option that considers the entire individual, not just the symptoms of hay fever. This approach can identify and address underlying imbalances within the body that may contribute to the condition.

Song TT, Jing XH, Guo W, Han GX, Du S, Zhao JP. [Acupuncture for prevention of moderate to severe seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2023 Feb 12;43(2):123-7. Chinese. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.20220414-k0004. PMID: 36808503.

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