Hay Fever & TCM Evidence – Simon Altman BHSc (Acupuncture)

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis can impact both men and women and start at any age.  It can be common amongst young children and teenagers as well as suddenly developing in adults.  The main method of western medicine intervention with Hay fever is to prescribe antihistamines which are readily available over the counter. People seek out alternative treatments for a number of reasons ranging from antihistamines no longer working as tolerance builds up within their system to the side effects of antihistamines.  Acupuncture is an amazing tool to help with the symptoms and produces excellent results.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been treating seasonal symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, blocked ears, foggy head and other symptoms that can fall under the heading of seasonal rhinitis or hay fever.  As with all illnesses, Traditional Chinese Medicine works holistically treating the whole person including the symptoms and underlying causes of the illness. 


Within the TCM framework these symptoms can be divided into a number of sub categories and we often find disharmonies within the Stomach, Lungs, Kidneys or Liver systems.  As everyone presents slightly differently it is important to try and work out what symptoms you present with.


  • The Spleen is one of the organs responsible for a healthy digestion. When this organ is out of balance phlegm or mucous can accumulate.  Building up the digestive aspects of Spleen (and stomach) systems can prevent the accumulation of mucous.  In TCM it is thought that mucous starts in with your Spleen/Stomach and then is to the Lungs lodging in the chest, head and sinuses.
  • The Lung organ system relates to the nose and if it is out of balance you can have a runny or stuffy nose, cough, tightness in your chest, itchy nasal passages or painful/sore sinuses.
  • The Kidney organ system is associated with the Winter months. If your Kidneys are weak you can get reoccurring colds/flus, are generally run down or the type of person that burns the candle at both ends this can weaken your Kidneys.  The weakness during the winter time can flow over into the spring months with a lower immunity and therefor make a person more susceptible to symptoms during Spring.
  • The Liver traditionally moistens the eyes, muscles and your system with ‘liver blood’. If you have red, itchy, watery or irritated eyes or headaches this can be an a sign that the Liver system is involved.


A recent study into the effects of acupuncture on the symptoms of persistent allergic rhinitis was conducted on 151 individuals in a randomised trial consisting of a real, sham and no acupuncture group.  The real acupuncture group having two acupuncture sessions a week for 8 weeks.  It found that there were improvements in sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, runny nose and benefits in unrefreshed sleep after a course of real acupuncture and these results continued to improve up to a four week follow up.

Hay Fever & TCM Evidence - Simon Altman BHSc (Acupuncture) 9

So what can you do to help yourself? See a registered practitioner so they can holistically diagnose you and give you accurate advice and treatment.


  • Acupuncture is amazing at relieving the symptoms of Hay Fever. Most people only need a few treatments to notice a huge difference with their symptoms.  This allows people to reduce medications, or simply have an extended periods symptom free.  I often recommend people come in the month prior to their normal Hay Fever season, as this can build up resistance and prevent symptoms from occurring.


  • Pre-Made Chinese Herbal Formulas are excellent between treatments and can help eliminate symptoms without any side effects. I often recommended the China Med Hay Fever formula which is in capsule form and easy to take during the day.


  • Diet is especially important during the Winter months prior to spring. Avoiding cold and raw foods as much as you can, this includes cold drinks and raw fruit / vegetables, coffee and alcohol.  Traditionally in China during the Winter months you would eat cooked foods and warming foods to counteract the cold of the Winter, boosting your Spleen and Stomach systems and improving your general immunity.


  • Chinese Massage over specific acupuncture points can offer temporary relief.
    • Massaging, pressing and rubbing around the nose can temporarily relieve the symptoms of itchy eyes and nose including points such as Large Intestine 20 and Bi Tong (slightly higher at the bridge of your nose) can offer some relief.


  • The point Large Intestine 4 between your thumb and pointer finger has an excellent action influencing anything on the face and is useful as a distal point.


  • Yin Tang between your eyebrows and massaging along your eyebrows (frontal sinuses) can help if you have itchy eyes or if you find you have pressure or pain along your eyebrows.


  • Another great point is Du Mai 23 which has an internal link to your nose. To find this point go along the middle of your face up from Yin Tang and just a tad inside your hair line and massage that area.


Hay Fever & TCM Evidence - Simon Altman BHSc (Acupuncture) 10Hay Fever & TCM Evidence - Simon Altman BHSc (Acupuncture) 11Hay Fever & TCM Evidence - Simon Altman BHSc (Acupuncture) 12


Acupuncture has been shown to relieve the symptoms of Hay Fever.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at Mornington Chinese Medicine for further advice.  Hay Fever is something you should never have to suffer through as there are so many fantastic and natural options to help prevent the symptoms from occurring.


Simon is available for consultation on Monday and Saturday.

To book your appointment please call us on 5973 6886.


McDonald JL, Smith PK, Smith CA, Changli Xue C, Golianu B, Cripps AW. Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Jun;116(6):497-505.

Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017). Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) http://www.acupuncture.org.au.

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