Can acupuncture help my hay fever?

Allergic rhinitis (seasonal and perennial) is an allergic reaction to pollen; it affects around 10-40% of the population worldwide, and can have a substantial health impact. (Sibbald 1991 cited in BAcC 2011) If you are unlucky you can be affected by several different types of pollen that come at different times of the year.

The condition can affect several organ systems, and cause many symptoms.

Typical symptoms include sneezing, nasal itching, nasal blockage, and watery
nasal discharge. (Lund 1994 cited in BAcC 2011) Other symptoms include eye symptoms (e.g. redeyes, itchy eyes, tearing), coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, oral allergy syndrome (i.e. an itchy, swollen oropharynx on eating stoned fruits), and systemic symptoms such as tiredness, fever, a pressure sensation in the head, and itchiness.

These symptoms can be debilitating for some people. Rhinitis is often regarded as a trivial problem but studies have shown that it severely affects people’s quality of life; it disturbs sleep, impairs daytime concentration and the ability to carry out tasks, causes people to miss work or school, and has been shown to affect children’s school exam results. (allergyUK.Org, 2013)

Between 20-47% of sufferers use some form of complementary therapy, with herbal remedies and acupuncture being the most common.

Here’s what patient, CC of Hastings had to say about her auricular acupuncture treatment for hay fever (seasonal rhinitis).

I had auricular acupuncture for hay fever, which I have suffered from for 9 years now. The treatments started over the winter before the season started. They were really relaxing and I looked forward to having them, even though my hay fever symptoms hadn’t started. Usually I start to get symptoms by March or April, but this year I felt nothing until mid-June, and my hay fever so far, seems to be much milder than usual. The acupuncture has really helped minimise the miserable irritation I get from the symptoms, and shorten the time I have to put up with it. I believe that with more winter treatments of auricular acupuncture, my hay fever will be a thing of the past.
C.C, Hastings

What I learned from this case study is that starting treatment early prepared the body for the season ahead and regular treatments, particularly closer to the summer would have enhanced the overall result.

People also suffer with Perennial Rhinitis (persistent) this occurs throughout the year. Allergens commonly include house dust mites and domestic pets.

If you would like to discuss your allergy then please call 07867 622406



Lund VJ, Aaronsen D, Bousquet J, et al. International consensus report on the diagnosis and management of rhinitis.Allergy 1994; 49: 1–34.

Sibbald B, Rink E. Epidemiology of seasonal and perennial rhinitis; clinical presentation and medical history. Thorax 1991; 46: 895–901.

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