A Needle in Hay Fever

Acupuncture could help your runny nose

Martyn Thomas, Licensed AcupunctureContributed by Martyn Thomas

You’ve probably heard that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for the relief of pain. But how about for the relief of hay fever? That’s right. A new study tested the effectiveness of treating hay fever symptoms with acupuncture. The study included 422 people with grass and pollen allegories. One group received 12 acupuncture treatments over an eight-week period, the next received a “sham” version of acupuncture and the remaining group received no acupuncture. Upon completion of the study, patients given real acupuncture reported more symptom improvement than those in either of the comparison groups. On average, their quality-of-life scores were 0.5 to 0.7 points better, which should translate to a noticeable difference in hay fever symptoms.

What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to treat various diseases.

Why choose acupuncture?
While antihistamines are helpful in treating the symptoms of hay fever, they can also produce unpleasant side effects such as sleepiness, dry mouth and headache to name just a few. Additionally, antihistamines can make a number of health conditions — heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, thyroid, kidney or liver disease — worse. Also, these conditions can cause antihistamines to react unpredictably.

What makes acupuncture an effective hay fever treatment?
No one is quite sure why acupuncture helps hay fever sufferers. There is evidence, though, that it curbs inflammatory immune-system substances involved in allergic reactions.

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