Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine | Hay fever & Allergies

Acupuncture for Hay Fever

Acupuncture for Hay Fever Ferntree Gully


Hay fever also called allergic rhinitis refers to the symptoms people suffer when exposed to particular pollens. 15% of the Adult population in Australia struggle with Hay fever during spring, which means itchy watery eyes, itchy throat and sneezing! With a temperate climate, Melbourne usually has a short but intense grass pollen season, peaking late in spring (October to November). In some unlucky few seasonal allergies are not so seasonal, occurring year round. Typical symptoms include;

  • itchy eyes & throat
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • sinus congestion or infection
  • headache
  • poor sleep
  • loss of concentration


Hay fever can lead to inflammation of the sinuses and impaired nasal drainage. these circumstances can lead to the predisposition to developing sinusitis as a secondary infection. Sinusitis itself is the inflammation and infection of the sinuses,  leading to the swelling of the sinus tissues and narrowing of the sinus spaces and the excessive production 0f mucous. The nasal discharge will often be purulent and either yellow or green.


What causes hay fever?


Hay fever is caused by an over-reaction of your own body’s immune system when confronted with allergens such as grass, pollen, animal dander, dust and fungal spores. When your body encounters the allergen, your body’s immune system fights the substance, releasing substances such as histamine that dilates blood vessels, contracts muscles and increases white blood cells, creating the symptoms of hay fever in the respiratory tract.


Acupuncture May Reduce Sinus Inflammation and the Allergic Immune Response


Acupuncture also appears to have an effect upon the immune system. It appears that in addition to acupuncture treatment resulting in improvement of hay fever and sinus symptoms, it also resulted in reductions in total IgE and dust Mite specific IgE. Acupuncture also seemingly has an effect on reducing substance P – a marker that is related to inflammation (2).

Research into Acupuncture’s effectiveness in Hay fever


In research terms Acupuncture is considered effective in the treatment and management of Hay Fever (1). One study (3) triggered the following statement from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and  Immunology;


“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,” 


The study also found marked improvement in nasal obstruction, nasal itch, sneezing, runny nose, eye itch, and more refreshed sleep in patients who received the Real acupuncture compared with those that didn’t. . These improvements persisted over the course of 12 weeks of treatment and symptoms continued to improve after the end of the course of treatment.


Here is a review of the other most recent studies;


  • Feng 2015; SR of 13 RCT’s Acupuncture could be a safe and valid treatment for allergic rhinitis (4)
  • Taw 2015; SR of 2 large multi-Centre RCT’s, 3 Acupuncture vs Medication RCT’s and 1 cost effective study (5)
  • Kim 2012 & Witt 2010; Acupuncture is cost-effective for allergic rhinitis (6)
  • Reinhold 2013; Acupuncture significantly superior to rescue medications in QALY gained, but may cost more short term (7) (9)

If you are interested in making an Appointment with one of our team or would simply like to see if Acupuncture may be appropriate for you, please feel free to contact the Clinic on (03) 87197373 or Book Online below 



  1. McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo
  2. McDonald JL, Smith PK, Smith CA, Changli Xue C, Golianu B, Cripps AW. Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Jun;116(6):497-505.
  3. Charlie Changli Xue, Anthony Lin Zhang, Claire Shuiqing Zhang, Cliff DaCosta, David F. Story, Frank C. Thien. (2015) Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomised controlled trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol; available online 11 June 2015
  4. Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, Yang G, Liao Z, Liao W, et al. (2015) Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62
  5. Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20.Witt CM, Brinkhaus B. Efficacy, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for allergic rhinitis – An overview about previous and ongoing studies. Auton Neurosci. 2010 Oct 28;157(1-2):42-5.
  6. Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.
  7. Reinhold T, Roll S, Willich SN, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B. Cost-effectiveness for acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis: economic results of the ACUSAR trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Jul;111(1):56-63.
  8. Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN, Witt C. Acupuncture in patients suffering from allergic asthma: is it worth additional costs? J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Mar;20(3):169-77