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Acupuncture relieves childhood allergy

by Dr. Randy

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A groundbreaking study on the effect of acupuncture in the treatment of allergy symptoms in children was published in the November 2004 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Ng, 2004). The researchers evaluated the effect of active acupuncture applied to three specific points compared to sham acupuncture. The active group received needle insertion to the proper depth with manipulation of the needles. The sham group received treatment at the same points, but with a very superficial insertion and no stimulation of the needles. Results of the study showed that acupuncture was significantly more effective in reducing symptom scores and increasing symptom-free days compared to the control group. The acupuncture points used were ST 36 (Zu San Li), Yin Tang (between the eyebrows), and Shang Ying Xiang (on the face adjacent to the nose). Both groups received 2 treatments per week for 8 weeks.

This study was conducted at a pediatric respiratory clinic in a Hong Kong hospital. It is the first of its kind to show the effectiveness of acupuncture in children’s allergies. Another similar study also showed effectiveness of acupuncture for allergies in a single-blind protocol (Xue, 2002). That study recommended differentiation of treatment based on the patient’s specific syndrome diagnosis according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Treatments were performed 3 times per week for 4 consecutive weeks.

Ng DK, et al. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis. Pediatrics 2004 Nov;114(5):1242-7

Xue CC, et al. Effect of acupuncture in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled clinical trial. American Journal Chinese Medicine 2002;30(1):1-11

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