Allergic Rhinitis: What is it?
Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is a widespread hypersensitivity reaction of the nasal mucosa to common allergens, including mites and household dust, pollen from grasses, trees and weeds.
Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is characterized by itching, sneezing and nasal congestion and is now estimated to affect about 1.4 billion people worldwide and continues to grow. Although it is not a life-threatening disease, it can be associated with many comorbidities (e.g. asthma) and affects the quality of life and productivity of work.
The drugs currently used for the management of Allergic Rhinitis include antihistamines, corticosteroids, antileukotrienes, anticholinergics and mast cell stabilizers.
Due to ineffective drugs or significant side effects, many patients with Allergic Rhinitis (AR) are looking for alternative treatments to relieve its symptoms. Interesting research has shown that Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is the allergic condition that is usually treated with methods of complementary medicine while from these methods Acupuncture seems to be used more often.
Allergic Rhinitis (AR): Its financial burden
An economic survey showed that a family of patients with Allergic Rhinitis (AR) spends a lot of money for medicines and health care. These extra costs increase the financial burden on the family budget. Meanwhile, Allergic Rhinitis (AR) increases the risk of other diseases such as headache/ migraine, cough syndrome in the upper airways, chronic sinusitis and asthma. Allergic Rhinitis is an independent risk factor for the development of asthma. According to a survey conducted in the USA, 78% of patients with asthma also suffer from Allergic Rhinitis.
Allergic Rhinitis (AR) and Acupuncture: What is the effect of Medical Acupuncture?
According to Controlled Clinical Trials, after the completion of an Acupuncture Session Cycle in patients with Allergic Rhinitis (AR), the symptoms of sneezing and itching of the ears and palate as well as nasal congestion were significantly less severe. Allergic Rhinitis (AR) includes an allergic inflammatory reaction and a hypersensitivity reaction mediated by the IgE antibody.
There is a complex interaction between inflammatory cells, cytokines released by these cells, pro-inflammatory neuropeptides and neurotrophins. In particular, the nerve endings are exposed after exposure of the integrity of the nasal epithelium, which leads to the release of a peptide associated with the gene of substance P and other substances that lead to a “cataract” of inflammation.
The use of Medical Acupuncture for Allergic Rhinitis (AR) in clinical practice is suggested as an effective treatment in recent guidelines of the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. The modern perception is that relieving the symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is related to the anti-inflammatory effects of Acupuncture. These anti-inflammatory benefits are associated with many metabolic pathways such as the hypothalamic adrenal pituitary axis, the pathways of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system and the cholinergic sympathetic pathways. Another important benefit of Acupuncture, when applied by specialized Doctor-Acupuncturists, is its anti-histamine action as it regulates the reduction of pre-inflammatory cytokines and pre-inflammatory neuropeptides.
Allergic Rhinitis (AR) and Acupuncture: Can I be relieved with Medical Acupuncture sessions?
Allergic Rhinitis (AR), although cannot be completely treated at present, through an integrated prevention and treatment the patients’ symptoms can be well controlled and their quality of life is significantly improved. The treatment of Allergic Rhinitis includes controlling exposure to environmental allergens, medication and immunotherapy. Anti-allergic creams can significantly reduce nasal symptoms and improve the quality of life in patients with Allergic Rhinitis. Nasal glucocorticoids are today the most effective drugs for the treatment of Allergic Rhinitis.
There are also Traditional Chinese Herbal Recipes that have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects that are effective and safe in improving the nasal symptoms of perennial and persistent Allergic Rhinitis (AR) in combination with Medical Acupuncture sessions.
Recent evidence suggests that Acupuncture is an effective and safe method of treatment for Allergic Rhinitis, when practiced by an experienced Doctor-Acupuncturist, and may even be superior to standard medication. In addition, the combination of Acupuncture and standard medication and/or Traditional Chinese Herbal Recipes is associated with a statistically beneficial clinical outcome.
Allergic Rhinitis and Acupuncture: Clinical Proficiency of Medical Acupuncture
A Multicenter Randomized Trial (ACUSAR: Acupuncture in Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis) found a statistically significant improvement in Allergic Rhinitis (AR) symptoms and quality of life in patients who have had Acupuncture treatment compared to conventional symptomatic therapy with antihistamines or “fake” acupuncture (sham acupuncture).
World Health Organization (W.H.O) – Acupuncture – Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is among the top in the list of diseases of the World Health Organization in which Acupuncture can have beneficial effects. (W.H.O. – ACUPUNCTURE: REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF REPORTS ON CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIALS Chapter 3: Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved— through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment).