That time of the year again, sneezing, blocked nose, itchy and watery eyes, puffy eyes, itchy nose, runny nose, itchy or sore throat, itchy ears, cough, cannot breath easily, cannot sleep, tired, foggy brain, cannot function at work, asthma is getting worse, sinus infection is getting worse… The list goes on. Yes, this is what hay fever does to you.
Well, you are not alone. About 20-50% people suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, due to being allergic to plant pollen, mould, or dust,. For some people it is seasonal, for others it can be all year round.
If you are looking for non-drug therapies for your hay fever, acupuncture is a very good option. Over the last 20 years, many clinical trials have shown that acupuncture is effective and safe. A recent review included 2365 patients and found that acupuncture significantly reduced itchy and runny nose, blocked nose and medication use, and improved quality of life.1 More importantly it modulates your immune system,1 so that you are likely to have long-term relief. Acupuncture is now included in Clinical Practice Guideline for Allergic Rhinitis by American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery as a treatment option.2
At Geelong Chinese Medicine Clinic, we use acupuncture, and often combine it with Chinese herbs, to achieve excellent results for most of our patients with hay fever. Weekly acupuncture is provided for about four to six weeks, then the treatment goes to maintenance phase, such as once fortnightly or monthly during the season. Majority patients are able to reduce or stop their medication use, and experience symptoms less severely and less frequently. This will transfer to better sleep, a clearer brain and happier body.
Feng et al (2015) Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 29(1):57-62. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2015.29.4116.
Seidman et al (2015) Clinical practice guideline: Allergic rhinitis. .Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 152(1 Suppl):S1-43. doi: 10.1177/0194599814561600.