The approach to hay fever and allergic rhinitis by acupuncturists clearly illustrate the difference between a traditional acupuncture approach and that of western medicine.  Acupuncturists do not focus on the specific allergen: whether it is grass or tree pollen, or whether it is cat or horse hair, matters little.  What does matter is how your body responds to triggers.  The timing of your allergic response is also an important factor to be taken into account.  The length of a course of acupuncture for allergy relief varies (as it does with most complaints), as the following case histories show.

Case Study 1

Hay fever – Onset 25 years prior to acupuncture

Male – age 46

nset anytime between January – March each year. Symptoms remain until October each year.

Main symptoms:
All lasting from morning to night.

  • Itchy eyes
  • Constant runny nose
  • Sneezing half hour at a time
  • Red, blood shot eyes
  • Generally feeling agitated.

This man first came to see me in April and the symptoms were all ready well established.

Results of acupuncture

Session 1

Three days after his first acupuncture he was much improved. He still experienced hay fever except that instead of the symptoms lasting up to three hours at a time, these attacks lasted only 5 – 10 minutes.

Session 2

All symtoms went

Session 3

This was to consolidate effects. He remained allergy free for the remainder of the year.


This course of acupuncture was particularly fast acting. It can take up to six or more sessions in some cases. Note also that it took three days for this man to feel the effect from his acupuncture. This is extremely common – there appears to be a three day delay in response to the majority of acupuncture for chronic conditions.

Case Study 2

Allergic Rhinitis – Onset 15 years prior to acupuncture

Man – age 68

Main symptoms

  • Constant post nasal drip
  • Copious phlegm

Duration – Daily for entire year, every year.

Previous Western medical treatments

Anti-histamines, antibiotics, steroid nasal sprays, and many more. None of these had worked.

Prior to allergic rhinitis:

Prone to sinus congestion especially when out doors in cold, e.g. playing sport in cold weather.

General health very good but dispirited with constant rhinitis which wouldn’t clear.


Acupuncture sessions 1-4

Sypmtoms all became worse for one day after each session and then improved substantially. He also developed other symptoms such as mild muscle aches lasting 1-2 days.

Acupuncture session 5

Generally all symptoms improved dramatically

Acupuncture session 6

All symptoms went and six months and one year follow up revealed that he had remained symptom free.

Comments on acupuncture
It is not uncommon for a light worsening of symptoms for a day or two after acupuncture – depending on the condition for which acupuncture is sought. It is also not unusual to have a temporary light set-back during a course of acupuncture. Ultimately this man was delighted that for the first time in fifteen years he was free of phlegm and post-nasal drip and remained that way for more than two years (informed by letter.)

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