The immediate effect of facial candling on inflammatory mediators, substance P, symptoms severity, and quality of life in allergic rhinitis patients: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

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Asian countries have a variety of ethnic groups and culture that provide their own traditional treatment in health care. Facial candling appears to be one of the popular traditional treatments in Southeast Asian. The complementary medicine practitioners promote that the facial candling treatment would help in reducing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and other problems related to sinus. Due to the lack of evidence available, the effectiveness of this treatment method and its mechanism, however, remains unknown. The objective of this research is therefore to study impact of facial candling on inflammatory mediators, substance P (SP), symptoms severity, and quality of life (QoL) in allergic rhinitis patients.

Method and analysis:

A randomized, nonblinded, controlled trial will be carried out by recruiting a total of 66 eligible allergic rhinitis patients who fulfill the inclusion criteria from a university health center. The subjects will be randomly assigned into 2 groups: intervention group receiving facial candling treatment and control group (no treatment given). Samples of blood and nasal mucus will be collected right before and after intervention. Samples collected will be analyzed. The primary outcomes are the changes in the level of SP in both blood and mucus samples between both groups. The secondary outcomes include the levels of inflammatory mediators (ie, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin (IL)-3, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-13) and the severity of allergic rhinitis symptoms as measured by a visual analogous scale and QoL using the Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ).

Ethical and trial registration:

The study protocols are approved from the Ethical and Research Committee of the Universiti Teknologi MARA (REC/113/15). The trial is registered under the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN12616000299404). The trial was registered on 03/07/2016 and the first patient was enrolled on 10/12/2016.


Facial candling is one of the unique treatments using candles to reduce the severity of symptoms and inflammation. This is the first ever study conducted on facial candling that will give rise to new knowledge underlying the effects of facial candling on severity of symptoms and inflammation relief mechanism mediated by substance P and inflammatory mediators.

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