Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for relief of seasonal allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever) symptoms, report Australian researchers.

Their study of 175 people with hay fever shows those treated with acupuncture experienced a greater reduction in sneezing and itching symptoms than members of a sham-treatment group. The sham-treatment group had acupuncture needling, but only superficially and not at the correct acupuncture points.

Quality of life also improved during the 12-session, four week trial. But people did not report relief of nasal obstruction.

The researchers say the beneficial effects lasted beyond the treatment phase, with those treated reporting improved symptoms 4 weeks after the acupuncture sessions ended.

“Based on these findings, the real acupuncture treatment administered in this trial is recommended to be administered pre-seasonally, for symptom control during peak pollen season,” they write in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

They suggest acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect. Patients in both groups reported only mild or moderate discomfort from the needle treatment.

Rachel Worsley

Last Reviewed: 24/06/2015

Reproduced with kind permission from


Charlie Changli Xue, Anthony Lin Zhang, Claire Shuiqing Zhang, Cliff DaCosta, David F. Story, Frank C. Thien. Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomised controlled trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol; available online 11 June 2015.

%d bloggers like this: