Can Acupuncture Bin the Misery of Hay Fever for Sufferers?

allergy34Most of us welcome the first glimpses of spring but for hay fever sufferers, the sight of new blooms and growing grass is more a sign of doom. Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen, usually grass but also from trees and weeds.

While anti-histamines can usually keep the worst of the symptoms of sneezing, runny eyes and itching at bay, most hay fever sufferers are always looking for a more long-term solution to their annual problem.

One such solution could come from acupuncture. A recent study in Berlin that randomly assigned hay fever sufferers to acupuncture sessions reported that those who received the ancient Chinese treatment had greater relief from their symptoms than those who did not undergo acupuncture.

The study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that the effects of the treatment faded after eight weeks but in those eight weeks, the participants used less of their antihistamine medication.

Acupuncture has been used by the Chinese for almost 2,000 years and uses fine needles to restore the body’s natural balance or Qi, a lifeforce that flows through the body in channels called meridians. The needles are inserted into the body at specific points to stimulate nerves and muscle tissue and restore the flow of energy. Today acupuncture is a complementary treatment that is used to treat a range of illnesses such as migraine, dental pain, back pain, anxiety and asthma.

The recent study into its effects on hay fever suggests acupuncture can also stimulate chemicals that fight inflammation and stimulate the immune system, helping to fend off the allergic reaction to pollen.

Even though the results demonstrated that the effects of acupuncture did fade naturally after eight weeks, patients might consider the treatment worthwhile if they are unconvinced that their antihistamines aren’t working or if they simply want to try an alternative method of treatment.

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