Allergies and Acupuncture
Although many suffer from it, most do not know that allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the United States. According to WebMD, one in five Americans suffer from allergies or asthma symptoms, resulting in an annual cost to the health care system and business of $7.9 billion.
Most people deal with their allergies through the purchase of over the counter medications – pills, nasal sprays, eye drops, and even shots. However, recent research indicates that acupuncture may be an effective alternative to drugs. According to CNN, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has provided evidence that acupuncture can relieve the symptoms of allergy sufferers.
The study divided up 422 people who had tested positive for pollen allergens and had nasal symptoms into three groups. One group received standard antihistamines as needed. Both of the other groups also took antihistamines as needed, however one also received fake acupuncture treatments (needles inserted into random parts of the body) while the third group received actual acupuncture treatment.
The results were enlightening. After two months the group that received the actual acupuncture treatment showed a greater improvement in their allergy symptoms than the other two groups while using less antihistamines. While the study cautioned that more research was needed, initial results were very promising.
In an editorial accompanying this study, Dr. Jongbae of the Regional Center for Neurosensory Disorders and Dr. Remy Coeytaux of the Duke Clinical Research Institute agree. Noting that over the last 15 years the benefits of acupuncture have started to emerge, they suggest that the time has come to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture with other methods of treating allergies as well as determining what forms of acupuncture work best.
In describing the study, study author Dr. Benno Brinkhaus of the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at Charité University Medical Center in Berlin wrote:
“From my experience as a physician and acupuncturist, and as a researcher, I would recommend trying acupuncture if patients are not satisfied with the conventional anti-allergic medication or treatment or they suffer from more or less serious sides effects of the conventional medication. Also because acupuncture is a relative safe treatment.”
It seems as if modern medicine is learning more and more about the effectiveness of this ancient form of Chinese medicine.