Acupuncture for Seasonal Allergies
Doctors often prescribe oral antihistamines and nasal steroids to patients who experience symptoms of seasonal allergies, including runny nose and watery eyes. Researchers led by Dr. Benno Brinkhaus from Charite-University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany found that acupuncture may offer an alternative way to treat these symptoms without the side effects of medications.
Previous studies have shown conflicting results on the benefits of acupuncture for seasonal allergy symptoms. In their new study, the authors report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that allergy sufferers may experience relief with a few weeks of treatment with acupuncture. The study involved 422 patients with symptomatic seasonal allergies who were randomly assigned to receive real acupuncture treatment, sham acupuncture or oral antihistamines.
After eight weeks of treatment, those who received acupuncture treatment reported fewer symptoms compared to other patients in the two treatment groups. Researchers found that 71% of participants in the acupuncture group reported an improvement in their allergies after eight weeks of treatment, while 56% of participants in the sham acupuncture group experienced relief.
Dr. Harold Nelson (not involved in the study), who treats allergies at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, notes, however, that acupuncture is invasive, more time consuming and requires the assistance of a licensed acupuncturist. Compared to using a nasal steroid spray, it may be less simple and more expensive, although some patients may prefer it over using daily medications.
Brinkhaus, an internal medicine doctor and acupuncturist say that acupuncture is not an alternative, but rather, a complementary medicine which can be used to reduce the anti-allergic medication.
Pittman, G. Could acupuncture help relieve seasonal allergies? Reuters.
Tags: seasonal allergies