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Acupuncture improves allergic rhinitis (SAR)

Acupuncture is frequently used to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). There is more and more high-quality evidence showing that acupuncture can significantly improve disease-specific quality of life and antihistamine use. The post covers some research published in top medical journals.

1. Acupuncture in Patients With Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Trial (2013)

Brinkhaus et al from Germany conduced a randomized, controlled multicenter trial ( NCT00610584) to evaluate the effects of acupuncture in patients with SAR. The trail included 422 persons with SAR and IgE sensitization to birch and grass pollen. The found that acupuncture led to statistically significant improvements in disease-specific quality of life and antihistamine use measures after 8 weeks of treatment compared with sham acupuncture and with RM alone, but the improvements may not be clinically significant.

All patients randomly assigned to real acupuncture were treated at 4 obligatory basic Chinese medicine acupuncture points (LI 4, LI 11, LI 20 bilaterally, and Ex-HN 3 [Yintang]), at least 3 of 8 facultative basic points (EX-HN 8 [Bitong], Gb 20, LIV 3, LU 7, ST 36, SP 6, SJ 17, or BL 13), and at least 3 additional points.

Brinkhaus B, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Roll S, Linde K, Pfab F, Niggemann B, Hummelsberger J, Treszl A, Ring J, Zuberbier T. Acupuncture in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine. 2013 Feb 19;158(4):225-34.

2. A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Childhood Persistent Allergic Rhinitis

Ng et al recruited 85 patients from the pediatric outpatient clinic at Kwong Wah Hospital, in Hong Kong To compare active acupuncture with sham acupuncture for the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis (PAR) among children. This study showed that active acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in decreasing the symptom scores for persistent allergic rhinitis and increasing the symptom-free days.

Point: Yin Tang (EX-HN3), Shang Ying Xiang (EX-HN8) ST36, twice per week for 8 weeks

Ng DK, Chow PY, Ming SP, Hong SH, Lau S, Tse D, Kwong WK, Wong MF, Wong WH, Fu YM, Kwok KL. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis. Pediatrics. 2004 Nov 1;114(5):1242-7.


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