Chinese medicine has been used therapeutically in China for thousands of years and is growing in prominence in Europe and the United States. Chinese medicine works by reestablishing balances within the body, the balances between yin and yang, between qi and blood, and so on. The main professional methods are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture/moxibustion. Recent controlled studies indicate that Chinese medicine therapy including herbal medicines and acupuncture for allergic disorders is promising.
Acupuncture for itch
Itch is a major symptom of allergic skin disease. Acupuncture has been shown to exhibit a significant effect on itch. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial concluded that acupuncture at the correct acu-points showed a significant reduction in type I hypersensitivity itch in patients with atopic eczema (Allergy,2010 July).
Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis affects 10-40% of the population globally with a substantial health and economic impact on the community. Ear-acupressure was as effective as body acupuncture or antihistamine for short-term effect, but it was more effective than anti-histamine for long-term effect (Clin Otolaryngol,2010 Feb). Another pragmatic randomized trial of 5,237 patients with allergic rhinitis in German suggests that acupuncture is effective in the symptomatic treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis (Ann Allergy asthma immunology,2008 Nov). Acupuncture may help to improve the blood theology indexes with an increased volume of blood flow, and regulate the immunological function of the human body, thus giving therapeutic effects for allergic rhinitis.
Acupuncture for asthma
Asthma has become an important public health issue and approximately 300 million people have suffered from the disease worldwide. Nowadays, the use of acupuncture in asthma is increasing. A study on children with asthma finds that life quality activities of the group of acupuncture-like stimulation improved significantly more than those of the control group (J Asthma,2010 Dec). One review points to the potential benefits of pharmacopuncture for adults with asthma (Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2011). Gene expression of immune response and steroid hormone may play an important role in the treatment of asthma (J Biomed Sci.2009 May).
Safety of Acupuncture
The risk of serious adverse events in the overall population is as low as 0.05/10,000 treatments (J Pediatr Hematol Oncol,2008 June). Some findings suggest that personalized medical treatment should be essential for acupuncture treatment in patients with allergic rhinitis ( J Altern Complement Med,2010 Jan). So a well-trained professional acupuncturist is vital for safety and efficacy reasons.