To determine whether single point, Liver 3 (Taichong), acupuncture is effective for hay fever prophylaxis in a dedicated general practice clinic setting, 30 patients suffering from long-standing, moderate to severe hay fever were randomised to acupuncture or conventional therapy. Three, ten minute acupuncture treatments were given at weekly intervals during April 1993.
Four of the fifteen acupuncture patients had complete remission of symptoms compared with none from the control group. The rest of the acupuncture group had a variable response, but a small, significant improvement in overall symptom score was demonstrated, as was a shortening of duration of hay fever symptoms. The start of the hay fever season for some patients was later than expected, which may have resulted in reduced effectivity of the acupuncture, thus treatment may be better starting at the beginning of May to cover the peak of symptoms in early June.
The results of this pilot study have shown that single point (Liver 3) acupuncture given for hay fever prophylaxis in a clinic setting was effective, safe, easily reproducible, acceptable and inexpensive (the material cost of the treatment was less than 50p per patient). The study merits repeating on a larger scale.
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