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Acupuncture & Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis(AR) is one of the most common conditions in Ireland. It is caused by an allergen e.g. dust mites, pollen, dander which your bodys' immune system reacts to (immunological disorder) and you get swelling and inflammation of the mucous membranes inside your nose.

The symptoms people can experience are sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, blocked nose and itchy eyes or throat. Symptoms arise soon after you breath in the allergen. Hayfever is type of allergic rhinitis.

For some people the symptoms are mild and seasonal, lasting a specific period of time. For others it's a year round nuciance.

If your symptoms are more moderate, it becomes more of an issue, because it impacts your life negatively. for example it can impact sleep quality and quantity. According to Prof Russell Foster, a neuroscientist from the University of Oxford, chronic insomnia is as detrimental to health as smoking. Now you can see how it can have a cumulative impact on your health, if you are that person. For others it can interfere with daily life. If, for example, your job involves exposure to allergens, and you love your job or you have a hobby you absolutely and develop an allergy to what you are using you have choices to make that you don't necessarily want to make.

Can Acupuncture help and is there evidence to support that?

If you have read previous posts, you will probably know the answer already. Yes it helps and yes there is evidence.

A meta analysis done in 2020 comparing the effectiveness of diverse (different styles) acupuncture methods for AR treatment found that all acupuncture methods are effective and safe. They found acupuncture methods were equally effective as pharmacological (medications) treatments, without any side effects. Exactly 39 studies with 3433 participants were covered in this meta-analysis.

One of the many advantages of acupuncture is that it does not come with negative side effects. Instead, it has many positive side effects. One of those powerful effects, is that it deeply relaxes people. Life during a lockdown situation, we can all agree is stressful.

If you decide to have acupuncture for your allergic rhinitis, you will experience symptom relief at your first visit, but you will need several treatments. Discuss with your acupuncturists how many visits you will need.

Written by Sinead Dee Practice Nurse, Acupuncturist, Herbalist. On the Pulse Clinic

Reference Yin Z, Geng G, Xu G, Zhao L, Liang F. Acupuncture methods for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and bayesian meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Chin Med. 2020 Oct 12;15:109. doi: 10.1186/s13020-020-00389-9. PMID: 33062045; PMCID: PMC7552548

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