Asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs, affects an estimated 300 million people around the world. Although it is considered a treatable disease with proper medication, it still claims over 3,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. It is also one of the most common diseases for which patients turn to alternative therapies such as acupuncture for treatment and relief.
The key to the efficacy of acupuncture is that it directly affects the flow of qi, the energy that resides in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, the blockage of qi leads to diseases, disorders, and illnesses.
Acupuncture employs simple yet straightforward methods to treat ailments. Like all methods in Oriental medicine, it utilizes a holistic approach wherein treatment is focused on achieving overall health and well-being in order to remove the troublesome symptoms associated with asthma.
In traditional Chinese medicine, asthma is considered not just a disorder of the lungs but also of the kidneys and the stomach. This explains why the acupoints that correspond to the treatment of asthma are located along the lung, kidney, and stomach meridians. Acupoints along the bladder meridian are also treated since bladder function is also considered important for the overall health of the body’s organs. Once the energy blockages in these areas are corrected, optimum health is hopefully achieved.
Acupuncture is widely used as a preventative medicine technique, and as such, is most effective when used to treat initial attacks or mild bouts of asthma. The disease is one of 40 considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) that may benefit from acupuncture. One study conducted by the University of Vienna Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care showed that at least 70% of the patients suffering from asthma reported improvement after undergoing regular acupuncture treatment for a span of 10 weeks.
Another study, conducted in Kaifeng City’s Department of Acupuncture in the Second Municipal People’s Hospital in Henan, China, involved 192 patients with bronchial asthma. All patients were treated with acupuncture and results showed significant improvement in over 75% of patients. Clinical remission also reduced and the majority of patients reported immediate relief post-treatment. The study also showed that efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of asthma was related to the needle retention duration, the length of time the needle stayed inserted. Long-term curative effects were also observed to be better with patients who experienced immediate positive results after treatments.