Most people are familiar with acupuncture and how it can help relieve pain in some patients. Based on a recent study as noted on time.com, it may also relieve seasonal allergies as well.
Most patients suffering with seasonal allergies tend to use antihistamines and other allergy medications for relief, but alternative treatments like acupuncture, in which tiny needles inserted just under the skin at specific points in the body, may reduce certain symptoms.
In a recent study published in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers examined 422 people who tested positive for pollen allergies and had allergic nasal symptoms such as a runny nose or itchy eyes. The participants reported their symptoms as well as medication and doses they used to treat them.
The researchers then divided these individuals into three separate groups. The first group received 12 acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines as needed. The second group received 12 fake acupuncture treatments (needles placed at random, non-meaningful points in the body) and took antihistamines as needed. The final group only took antihistamines for symptoms.
After two months, the researchers asked the patients about their symptoms and how much medication they used. The participants who received the real acupuncture treatments in conjunction with antihistamines showed a greater improvement in allergy symptoms and less use of antihistamines compared to the other groups.
If the treatments are providing some type of relief, then acupuncture’s potential role in treating allergies should be investigated further, the authors say. “The effectiveness of acupuncture for seasonal allergies and the possible underlying mechanisms of any effect, including context effects, need to be addressed in further research,” they note in the study.
They note that acupuncture’s benefits have started to emerge over the last 15 years and enough high-quality clinical trials support “patient-level meta-analyses for several clinical indications.” They suggest that more rigorous research, which would include comparing acupuncture with existing treatments for conditions such as allergies, should be conducted in coming years.
In the meantime, 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 relatively safe treatment.”
If you’re trying to manage your allergy symptoms this season, give Washington Wellness Center a call. We can discuss your options including acupuncture.
This story was originally published on TIME.com.