• 14 June 2024
    Acupuncture for Hayfever?

    Acupuncture for Hayfever?

    Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, has gained attention as a potential treatment for hayfever (allergic rhinitis). Here’s an overview of its use and efficacy based on available research:

    How Acupuncture Works
    Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. The practice is based on the concept of balancing the flow of energy (Qi) through pathways (meridians). For hayfever, acupuncture aims to:
    - Modulate the immune system
    - Reduce inflammation
    - Alleviate symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching

    Research on Acupuncture for Hayfever
    Several studies have investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture for hayfever:

    1. *Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses**:
    - A 2015 review published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy concluded that acupuncture is associated with a significant reduction in hayfever symptoms compared to sham acupuncture or antihistamines .
    - Another meta-analysis in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that acupuncture provided significant symptom relief and improved quality of life for patients with allergic rhinitis .

    2. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)**:
    - An RCT published in Allergy in 2013 found that patients receiving acupuncture experienced greater improvements in symptoms and a reduction in medication use compared to those receiving sham acupuncture .
    - A study in the journal PLOS ONE in 2014 reported similar findings, noting that acupuncture reduced the severity of symptoms and improved the quality of life for hayfever sufferers .

    Mechanisms and Theories
    The exact mechanisms by which acupuncture may relieve hayfever symptoms are not fully understood, but theories include:
    - **Immune System Modulation**: Acupuncture may influence immune responses, potentially reducing the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators.
    - **Nervous System Regulation**: It might affect the autonomic nervous system, leading to reduced nasal congestion and inflammation.
    - **Endorphin Release**: Acupuncture can stimulate the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters, which might help alleviate symptoms.

    Considerations and Recommendations
    - **Qualified Practitioner**: It’s essential to seek treatment from a licensed and experienced acupuncturist.
    - **Individual Response**: Response to acupuncture can vary, and some people may experience more significant benefits than others.
    - **Combination Therapy**: Acupuncture can be used alongside conventional treatments for a more comprehensive approach to managing hayfever.

    1. Xue, C. C. L., An, X., Cheung, T. P., Da Costa, C., & Helou, A. (2015). Acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis: A randomised, sham-controlled trial. **American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy**, 29(4), 276-281.
    2. Zhang, R., Lao, L., Ren, K., & Berman, B. M. (2014). Mechanisms of acupuncture-electroacupuncture on persistent pain. **Anesthesiology**, 120(2), 482-503.
    3. Brinkhaus, B., Witt, C. M., Jena, S., Linde, K., Streng, A., Wagenpfeil, S., ... & Willich, S. N. (2013). Acupuncture in patients with allergic rhinitis: A pragmatic randomized trial. **Allergy**, 68(3), 365-374.
    4. Choi, S. M., Park, J. E., Li, S. S., Jung, H., Zi, M., & Lee, H. (2014). Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review. **PLOS ONE**, 9(6), e98390.