Acupuncture Can Reduce Hay Fever
Source: New York Times
Acupuncture is the crown jewel of alternative medicine, recommended for issues like chronic pain and osteoarthritis. Lately, the age-old treatment has been promoted as a way to relieve hay fever. But is there any real benefit?
Recently, a team of researchers designed a large trial to figure that out. In the study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, scientists recruited 422 people with allergies to grass and pollen and randomly assigned them to one of three groups. One group received 12 acupuncture treatments over eight weeks. Another was given sham acupuncture treatments equivalent to placebo, and a third group received no treatment. Each group had access to an antihistamine “rescue medication.”
After eight weeks, those in the acupuncture group had greater improvements in symptoms, compared with subjects in the other two groups, and they used the antihistamine less frequently. But after another eight weeks, the improvements had faded away, the study found.
A similar study published this month in the journal Allergy also found that acupuncture treatments, given three times a week over four weeks, relieved allergy symptoms compared with a sham procedure. But the study did not follow up with the patients long term.