Acupuncture could help ease symptoms of seasonal allergies, according to a new study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
However, the extent to which it could help is still uncertain, the Charite-University Medical Center researchers reported.
The small study included 422 people between ages 16 and 45 who were given one of three treatment regimens for eight weeks during two allergy seasons. Of all the study participants, 212 received acupuncture in addition to anti-allergy medication, 102 received fake acupuncture in addition to anti-allergy medication, and 108 just received the anti-allergy medication. (The participants were only allowed to use cetrizine, and if that didn't work, they could use another oral corticosteroid.)
By the end of the study period, researchers found that the study participants who underwent the acupuncture and took the anti-allergy medication had the best improvements in medication use and quality of life, compared with those who underwent the fake acupuncture treatments and those who only took the medications.
However, researchers were unable to find a strong enough difference in effectiveness after 16 weeks of follow up.
Reuters reported that a potential reason the medication-only groups didn't see as great of an effect as the acupuncture group is because antihistamines were used in the study -- and nasal steroids are better for many people in treating seasonal allergies. However, study researcher Dr. Benno Brinkhaus told Reuters that people who don't like taking daily anti-allergy medication or who experience side effects from the drugs could potentially benefit from acupuncture.
"From my experience as a physician and acupuncturist, and as a researcher, I would recommend trying acupuncture if patients are not satisfied with the conventional anti-allergic medication or treatment or they suffer from more or less serious sides effects of the conventional medication," Brinkhaus told TIME.
For more on how acupuncture could potentially help relieve allergies for sufferers, check out Fox News's piece here.