Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Restores Sense of Smell Study


Acupuncture Helps Olfaction


A recent controlled study published in the Journal of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery notes that acupuncture is effective for restoring the sense of smell. The researchers studied participants with dysosmia (loss of sense of smell) due to viral infections. Acupuncture was applied to acupuncture points Du16 (Fengfu), Du20 (Baihui), LI20 (Yingxiang), Lu7 (Lieque), Lu9 (Taiyuang), St36 (Zu San Li), and K3 (Tai Xi). The needles were manipulated by an expert acupuncturist with more than ten years of professional experience and were retained for 30 minutes. Several acupuncture treatments were administered over a 10 week period. A statistical analysis revealed a significant improvement in the acupuncture patients. A control group receiving standard vitamin B complex therapy did not improve greatly.

Acupuncture and Pharmaceutical Drugs
Also of interest is that the patients chosen for this study had already tried standard western medical therapies but did not recover the sense of smell. Yet, these patients enjoyed a significant improvement in their olfactory senses with acupuncture treatment. Western medicine approaches include systemic and topical steroids, vitamin B therapy, caroverine, alpha lipoic acid, and several other medications.

Scalp Acupuncture
Scalp acupuncture was employed in this study by choosing Du16 and Du20. Scalp acupuncture is especially well suited for both head injuries and post-viral neurological dysfunction. Hopefully, future studies will choose to include Du24 (Shenting) in the acupuncture point selection. Use of triple needling, also referred to as ranked needling, at acupuncture point Du24 is a powerful method for benefiting the sense of smell. Du24 is known to eliminate wind, calm the spirit and benefit the brain, nose, and eyes. It is the meeting point of the Governing vessel with the UB and Stomach meridians. Its actions to expel pathogenic head wind make it an excellent choice for the treatment of post-viral dysosmia. Commonly used to treat rhinitis, this acupuncture point is well regarded for its ability to benefit and stimulate the nose.



Julia Vent, MD, PhD, Djin-Wue Wang, MD, Michael Damm, MD; “Effects of traditional Chinese acupuncture in post-viral olfactory dysfunction,” J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg April 1, 2010 vol. 142 no. 4 505-509.