The American Academy of Otolaryngology’s new Clinical Practice Guideline recommends acupuncture for patients with allergic rhinitis (AR) who are interested in nonpharmacological therapy. A Guideline Development Group (20 experts in otolaryngology, allergy, immunology, nursing, CAM and consumer advocacy) developed the recommendations based on supporting evidence (randomised controlled trials with limitations, observational studies with consistent effects and a preponderance of benefit over harm). Acupuncture was recognised as an effective alternative to medical therapies, and associated with a reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life for patients. Its advantages were listed as including the avoidance of medication use (with its associated potential side-effects) and better alignment with patient values. (Clinical practice guideline: allergic rhinitis executive summary. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb;152(2):197- 206).

A newly published meta-analysis of 13 papers (2365 participants) by Chinese authors further supports the use of acupuncture in AR, concluding that it can exert a significant reduction in nasal symptom scores, medication use and serum IgE levels, as well as an increase in quality of life compared with controls. (Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62 doi: 10.2500/ajra.2015.29.4116).