Allergic rhinitis affects around 10-40% of the population worldwide. It can be either seasonal/intermittent or perennial/persistent. Typical seasonal triggers for allergic rhinitis are pollens, while persistent triggers include animal hair & dust-mites. Episodes of allergic rhinitis produce sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose (& sometimes eyes) & blocked nose as well as interrupted sleep, fatigue & poor concentration. Allergic rhinitis can have significant negative impacts on quality of life & work performance.
According to the most up to date evidence, acupuncture is an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis. Studies also suggest that acupuncture is safer than current commonly-used medications & may be more cost-effective.
Acupuncture may help to relieve pain & congestion in people with allergic rhinitis by:
regulating levels of IgE & cytokines, mediators of the allergic reaction to extrinsic allergens
stimulating nerves located in muscles & other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins & other neurohumoral factors, & changes the processing of pain in the brain & spinal cord
reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular & immunomodulatory factors
enhancing natural killer cell activities, & modulating the number & ratio of immune cell types
increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling.