The Invisible Enemy – How Acupuncture Can Help Your Hayfever

Allergies can affect anyone and statistically, hayfever (Allergic Rhinitis) affects up to 40% of the world’s population. It might not be obvious to the naked eye but air pollution and seasonal pollutants such as pollen cause allergy sufferers extreme discomfort. Seasonal change can be particularly difficult in Australia.

Going indoors to avoid allergens and to seek refuge is sometimes not possible either. Some pollutants are up to five times more concentrated indoors compared to outdoors.

There are actually two types of allergic rhinitis

  • Seasonal (hayfever)
  • Perennial (all year round)

Some of us are affected by the seasonal type, which is usually caused by airborne pollens. For others, it’s persistent hayfever that lasts all year round and this is usually due to dust mites, moulds, pet dander and just about anything that floats in the air.

Symptoms

• Sneezing

• A blocked or runny nose (postnasal drip)

• Itchy or watery eyes

• An itchy nose, palate or throat

Hayfever causes inflammation of the sinuses and often impairs nasal drainage. It is the impaired drainage that can often lead to secondary sinusitis or sinus infections.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine

The key to taming allergy symptoms is to get on top of the body’s inflammatory immune response. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers seasonal allergies (as well as asthma and sinusitis) as one of the respiratory diseases that can be treated effectively with acupuncture. Current research shows that acupuncture can help with both seasonal and perennial hayfever.

What can I expect in an acupuncture consultation?

The Chinese Medicine approach to hayfever is very different from conventional techniques. At BNH our practitioners take a holistic approach to every person that walks through our doors. With hayfever, we usually schedule a series of treatments as part of your treatment plan. As much as we would all love a magic pill a series of treatments are required to allow your sinus inflammation and hypersensitivity to reduce. In more severe cases we sometimes include a course of Chinese herbs in your treatment plan.

Other Solutions

We can never completely avoid outdoor air pollution but there are some simple things we can do to reduce the indoor air pollution levels in our homes.

  • Wash/vacuum floors weekly
  • Wash your bed sheets at least once a week
  • Turn on an extractor fan while cooking or open a window
  • Choose floor varnishes, paints, waxes and furniture with low VOC levels
  • Use an air purifier or consider getting some indoor plants

 

Research 

1. In 2017 The Acupuncture Evidence Project found evidence for the effectiveness of 117 conditions. Acupuncture for hay fever was in the ‘Evidence of positive effect’ category.

https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf

2.Reinhold T, Roll S, Willich SN, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B. Cost-effectiveness for acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis: economic results of the ACUSAR trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Jul;111(1):56-63

3. Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, Yang G, Liao Z, Liao W, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62.

4. Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20.

5. Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, Schwartz SR, Baroody FM, Bonner JR, et al. Clinical practise guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb;152(1 Suppl): S1-43.

6. McDonald JL, Smith PK, Smith CA, Changli Xue C, Golianu B, Cripps AW. Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Jun;116(6):497-505.

7. Xue CC, Zhang AL, Zhang CS, DaCosta C, Story DF, Thien FC. Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015 Oct;115(4):317-24.e1.

8. Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.

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