According to a recent study published in the April issue of the journal Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, Chinese acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment option for those afflicted with persistent post-viral olfactory dysfunction (PVOD), a condition commonly linked to an upper respiratory tract infection.
Currently, there is no validated pharmacotherapy option for PVOD, which affects approximately 2 million Americans each year and often leads to a temporary loss of the sense of smell and permanent damage to the olfactory system.
In the study, the research team recruited 15 patients with PVOD and treated them with 10 weekly 30-minute sessions of acupuncture. Following the therapy the participants had their sense of smell analyzed with the Sniffin’ Sticks test set, and their data was compared to a group of control patients also suffering from PVOD who did not undergo acupuncture.
The investigators found that eight patients in the acupuncture group significantly improved their sense of smell, while only two participants in the control group achieved the same result.
The study’s authors concluded that "the observed high response rate of about 50 percent under [acupuncture] was superior to that of spontaneous remission, and offers a possible new therapeutic regimen in postviral dysosmia."