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Acupuncture – a way to treat seasonal allergies

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : October 7, 2014 5:58 PM IST

Acupuncture is a non-drug therapy which is making its presence felt in the complementary medicine scene. According to a new study by Australian Medical Association, acupuncture may be beneficial in a small way in treating seasonal allergy symptoms like runny noses and watery eyes.

After approximately eight weeks of acupuncture session 71 percent of allergy suffers benefited as against 56 percent of people treated with fake acupuncture, the research found.

Acupuncture comes under the umbrella of Chinese medicine. There are over 1,000-2,000 known acupoints in the body, performing different functions, some to stimulate, others to sedate. Needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and the brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain or they trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which in turn influence the body's own internal regulating system. The WHO drew up the following list of diseases that respond well to acupuncture: acute sinusitis, acute rhinitis, cold, acute tonsillitis, acute bronchitis, myopia, cataract, toothache, acute and chronic gastritis, gastric hyperacidity, colitis, constipation, frozen shoulder, sciatica, osteo-arthritis, facial palsy, paralysis, among others. It can heal in rare cases. It can also help fertility.

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'Acupuncture works, but there a couple of warnings for people who think of using it,' said Dr. Harold Nelson - Allergy Specialist at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. Comparing it to spraying a nasal steroid in the nose once a morning, he said that acupuncture is more time consuming and effective only if it is practiced through a licensed and qualified stating an example.

For the study, Dr. Benno Brinkhaus from Charite-University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany selected 422 allergy sufferers. They were divided into groups to receive real acupuncture, sham acupuncture and only take antihistamines. The allergy symptoms dropped drastically after eight weeks and 12 treatment session among people who received acupuncture treatment when compared to those who received sham acupuncture their allergy symptoms and people on medication.

However, within eight weeks of ending their treatment, no difference in the degree of symptom improvement between groups was seen. Other than its possible beneficial effect on the immune system it is not sure why it might help people with seasonal allergies.

Because of their emphasis on drugless, natural measures, acupuncture is considered to be safe and gentle, without the formidable cost or side effects of allopathy.

'Though it cannot be used as an alternative, it can be first used as some sort of complementary medicines. If the acupuncture has good results, it can reduce the anti-allergic medication,' pointed Dr. Li-Xing Man, Sinus Specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York.

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