Treatment of recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitis with integrative East-West medicine: a pilot study

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;138(3):294-300. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2011.1489.


Objective: To establish the feasibility of studying the impact of integrative East-West medicine (IEWM) on sinonasal symptoms and quality of life (QOL) for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

Design: Prospective, nonrandomized trial.

Setting: Academic hospital and ambulatory clinic.

Patients: Patients with recalcitrant CRS offered treatment with IEWM in addition to standard medical treatment.

Methods: Prior to study enrollment, study participants were given the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-20) and the 36-Item Short Form (SF-36) questionnaires.

Interventions: Patients underwent 8 weeks of weekly acupuncture and counseling on dietary modification, lifestyle changes, and acupressure.

Main outcome measures: Patients completed posttreatment SNOT-20 and SF-36 surveys, which were compared for changes in sinonasal symptoms and QOL measures.

Results: Eleven patients completed the protocol. No adverse events were observed. There were trends toward improvement in most elements of the SNOT-20, whereas "need to blow nose" (P = .002), "runny nose" (P = .04), "reduced ability to concentrate" (P = .005), and "feeling frustrated, restless, or irritable" (P = .046) were statistically significant. In the SF-36, role physical (P = .01), vitality (P = .04), and social functioning (P = .008) were significantly improved.

Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest that an integrated approach of traditional Western medicine with IEWM is safe and may improve symptoms and QOL for patients with recalcitrant CRS. Future randomized controlled trials are needed to validate the effects of IEWM and clarify its role in the treatment of CRS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Counseling
  • Diet
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine / methods*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis / therapy*
  • Sinusitis / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires