The World Health Organization (WHO) list of diseases for which acupuncture is commonly used includes acute rhinitis. Empirical evidence suggests that rhinitis is particularly likely to respond when the allergic component is prominent (i.e. in hayfever). Studies have shown that significant reductions in symptoms such as congestion, nasal discharge, sneezing and itch can be achieved. Many patients become symptom free. These changes are accompanied by significant falls in the number of eosinophils and immunoglobulin E levels in blood and in nasal secretions (Lao, Wong & Slater 1975; Lee 1976). Improvement with acupuncture was found to be significantly superior to chlorpheniramine taken thrice daily (Chari et al 1988). Rhinomanometer measurements following aucpuncture of local points around the nose showed a 50% increase in nasal airflow (Bu & Nakano). Local needling may produce immediate reflex vasoconstriction, which reduces rhinorrhea and the symptoms of sneezing, blockage and irritation. Additional distal points may influence the immune system and thereby reduce the allergic response (Filshie & White 1998).
See also NON-SPECIFIC IMMUNE MECHANISMS, SPECIFIC IMMUNE MECHANISMS, and DELAYED-TYPE SENSITIVITY.
Lau B H S, Wong, DS, Slater M 1975. Effect of acupuncture on allergic rhinitis: clinical and laboratory evaluations. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 3(3):263-270.
Bu C, Nakano T 1990 Clinical application of rhinomanometer. Chinese Medical journal 103(11):956 958.
Chari P, Biwas S, Mann S B S, Sehgal S, Mehra Y N 1988 American Journal of Acupuncture 16(2):143-147.
Lee T-N 1976 Treatment of rhinitis with acupuncture. American Journal of Acupuncture 4(4):357-361.
Williamson L, et al 1996 Hay fever treatment in general practice-randomised controlled trial comparing standardised Western acupuncture with sham acupuncture. Acupuncture in Medicine 14(1):6-10.
Williamson L 1994. Hay fever prophylaxis using single point acupuncture: a pilot study. Acupuncture in Medicine 12(2):84-87.
Luo F 1992 Auricular-plaster therapy for treating 155 cases of allergic rhinitis. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture 3(2):205-207