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Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis

Acupuncture for allergies

Acupuncture is one of the longest-established forms of healthcare in the world and has been the subject of almost 15,000 clinical trials.  


Recent evidence shows that acupuncture is a successful, cost-effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis in adults and children.  Alleviating a range of symptoms such as sneezing, itchy nose, itchy eyes, runny nose, blocked nose and interrupted sleep.

Allergic rhinitis is considered to be:

  • A seasonal allergy to pollen which can be tree, flower

  • A perennial allergy to dust, house mites, fungal spores, furry animals

and treatment with acupuncture will treat both the signs and symptoms alongside the root cause.

Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis

Evidence shows that acupuncture is a successful, cost-effective and safe treatment for allergies:

  • In an 2023 randomised control trial of 120 participants they found that "acupuncture has good efficacy and safety in the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis. [.....]and acupuncture had an immediate impact, especially in improving nasal congestion, olfactory function and sleep".

  • In a 2015 systematic review of 1126 participants (acupuncture) and 1239 (control), they found that acupuncture improved the quality of life in allergic rhinitis patients.

  • In a 2020 systematic review of 3433 participants, they found that acupuncture methods are safe and effective for allergic rhinitis.

  • A 2015 randomised controlled trial of 175 participants showed that four weeks of acupuncture treatment is a safe and effective option for clinical management of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Allergies: how can I help myself?

Depending on your acupuncture diagnosis, you can use food and acupressure to help your signs and symptoms of allergies.

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During pollen season

Wind-Cold signs and symptoms such as sneezing, profuse runny nose with white watery discharge, pale complexion, stuffed nose, slight headache, no thirst

  • basil

  • black pepper

  • cayenne

  • chilli

  • cinnamon

  • coriander leaf

  • garlic

  • ginger (fresh)

  • leek

  • onion

  • peppermint

  • rosemary

  • sage

Wind-Heat signs and symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose with yellow thick discharge, itchy throat, itchy red eyes, slight thirst

  • chamomile

  • echinacea

  • elderflower

  • eucalyptus

  • lemon balm

  • mint

  • oregano

  • peppermint

  • sage

  • turnip

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Out of season or perennial

"chlorophyll-rich foods such as micro-algae and cereal grasses should be emphasised. these are helpful for clearing allergies because of their immune-enhancing, anti-inflammatory properties as well as their abundant supply of omega-3 and/or GLA fatty acids"

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Acupressure for allergies

You can apply pressure to the points, below, depending on your signs and symptoms.​

You can press on the point with firm pressure and you will feel an ache or tenderness.  Holding the point rotate 36 times.

  • Bitong: rhinitis, allergic rhinitis, nasal congestion & discharge, nosebleed, nasal polyps

  • Bladder 2: frontal headache, head wind, wind dizziness, nosebleed, rhinitis, sneezing, pain of the face, red face with cheek pain

  • Large intestine 20: nasal congestion, nasal congestion & discharge, rhinitis, profuse nasal discharge, loss of sense of smell, nasal polyps, nasal sores, sneezing, nosebleed

  • Yin Tang: nasal congestion and discharge, rhinitis, nosebleed

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  • Large intestine 4: regulates sweating, expels wind, regulates face, eyes, nose, mouth & ears

  • San Jiao 5: injury by cold, chills and fever, sweating with heat on the exterior, febrile disease

  • Large intestine 11: clear high fever, clears heat from the throat, loss of voice

  • Lung 7: chills and fevers, nasal congestion & discharge, nasal polyps, flaring of nostrils, throat painful obstruction, cough, coughing up phlegm, wheezing, dyspnoea, asthma, diminished qi and shortness of breath, heat of chest and back, shivering and cold of the chest and back, sweating

Acupuncture for colds

Two hundred and sixty-one cases were randomly assigned to a treatment group of 133 cases and a control group of 128 cases. The treatment group were treated with electroacupuncture at Dazhui (GV 14) and the control group with antondine injection. The method of acupuncture at Dazhui (GV 14) has a definite therapeutic effect on the high fever of common cold, and for wind-heat type common cold, Dazhui (GV 14) first may be chosen to abate high-fever and the treatment should be taken as early as possible.

Acupuncture for colds

326 were randomly allocated to acupuncture and no-treatment control groups. Statistically, significantly fewer symptoms were reported in the questionnaire by the acupuncture group than the control group.  The technique was shown to be effective and safe. The use of acupuncture for symptoms of the common cold symptoms should be considered

To read my blog post on acupuncture for colds you can click here.

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