Allergic rhinitis is characterised by the hypersensitive response of nasal mucosa to certain allergens. Antiallergic agents and steroids are usually prescribed, but often with unsatisfactory results, giving rise to side effects from time to time.
A study was conducted in Germany from 1995 to 1997 on 76 patients to examine the effects of acupuncture on rhinitis.
All the 76 cases proved refractory to antiallergic agents and steroids. The age ranged from nine to 72. The course of disease ranged from six months to 26 years. The chief symptoms included: nose itching, sneezing, nasal obstruction, and nasal discharge. Other complaints included itching of the eye, headache, coughing, asthma and reduced olfactory sensation.
Classical acupuncture and scalp acupuncture were administered and needles were retained for 30 minutes. All of them received more than five acupuncture treatments in the clinic.
Of the 76 cases treated, cure was observed in 38 cases (50 per cent), marked effect in 26 (34 per cent), and improvement in 12 (16 per cent).
Miss X, a 35-year-old woman complained of an itchy nose and frequent sneezing. It is a condition she has been enduring for four years. She explained that she would start sneezing at 4 a.m. and the sneezing would continue until noon or even into the evening. She felt constant nasal obstruction and shortness of breath which often led to frontal headache. The symptoms continued throughout the year. After examination, she was found to be allergic to pollens and animal dander. Allergic rhinitis persisted, however, despite her efforts to avoid contact with all suspected allergens. She complained of lassitude and intolerance to cold. Daily use of steroids produced no effect. Examination revealed a pale face, a whitish tongue with white and greasy coat, and taut and feeble pulses. She was identified as having qi insufficiency and yang insufficiency. Acupuncture treatment was given and needles were retained for 30 minutes. The treatment was performed twice a week.
All symptoms disappeared after eight treatments and follow-up for a year revealed no relapse.
Y, an 11-year-old boy, suffered from nose itching, nasal discharge, and frequent sneezing for four years. The nasal symptoms were accompanied by cough and shortness of breath. He was diagnosed as having allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma, and was found to be hypersensitive to grasses and pollens. Examination revealed a rosy complexion, a reddened tongue with white and greasy coat, and smooth and frequent pulses. He was identified as having an accumulation of phlegm-heat in the lung and functional disorder of the lung.
Acupuncture treatment was given and needles were retained for 30 minutes. The treatment was carried out twice a week.
All symptoms improved after four treatments and disappeared after 12 treatments, and follow-up for a year revealed no relapse.
Through replenishing yin and yang, qi and blood, and resolution of phlegm, all measures based on categorical identification and human resistance is enhanced. A new balance between yin and yang is established in the body. Under such circumstances, nasal discharge may be resolved more readily and rehabilitation accelerated.