Chronic Asthma Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be powerful allies in the management of asthma, and they work well in conjunction with other types of treatment.

"As soon as we notice that certain types of events 'like' to cluster together at certain times, we begin to understand the Chinese, whose theories of medicine, philosophy, and even building are based on a 'science' of meaningful coincidences." - Marie-Louise von Franz

Chronic Asthma is a long-term condition that affects more than 2 million Australian. Caring for a chronic condition such as this can sometimes be frustrating, but it's important to remember that controlling asthma is achievable. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (TCM) can be powerful allies in the management of asthma, and they work well in conjunction with other types of treatment.

The facts about asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory disease in which the airways become blocked or narrowed, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Some people have long periods without symptoms, while others may always experience difficulty breathing. Asthma attacks occur when something triggers the inflammation of the respiratory system. Flare ups can be severe—sometimes even life-threatening.

What Is Chronic Asthma

The symptoms of chronic asthma are coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. These can be worse in the early morning, at night, or when triggered. Smoke, pet dander, allergies to grass or pollen, cold weather, or too much exercise can be triggers. Asthma is not a contagious disease; however, simple infections like the common cold or influenza can worsen asthma symptoms or even trigger an attack.

Aetiology of Chronic Asthma

Inflammation is the redness and swelling shows at the time of injury. The body’s defenses send extra blood and fluid to help fight off any bacteria or dirt that might be present. For the irritated bronchioles, the inflammation is similar which begins to create many problems. This inflammation makes the airways smaller, and as the airways narrow, wheezing sounds are loud and noticeable. The tinier the airways become, the louder the wheezing can be heard. A painful help-hurt cycle begins. While attempting to protect the body, asthma sufferers help and hurt their airways at the same time.

The body can also create mucus, a sticky substance designed to trap tiny particles like grass or pet dander, to try and flush the irritation away. The mucus is irritating, and the body attempts to expel the mucus by coughing. The lungs cannot remove the mucus on its own; it can only come out by coughing. Narrow airways and sticky mucus also create shortness of breath, because now the lungs have to work even harder to get the oxygen in and out. A person may not be able to do their normal activities.

Asthma according to ancient principles

In TCM, asthma is known as "Xiao Chuan", which means "wheezing" and "shortness of breath". It is caused by a variety of factors that involve an imbalance with Wei Qi (pronounced "way chee"), and an imbalance with one or more of the organ systems, generally the Lungs, Spleen or Kidney.

It, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goes beyond just a simple diagnosis. Below are some of the more common TCM diagnoses that your acupuncturist may discover and treat.

  • Invasion of Wind
  • Lung weakness
  • Kidney weakness
  • Spleen weakness
  • Liver imbalance
  • Liver Heat
  • Wei Qi deficiency
  • Phlegm/damp in the Lungs

Treatments for Chronic Asthma

Treatments for chronic asthma typically are in the form of medications. Emergency inhalers to dilate the bronchioles, lung-specific corticosteroids, or whole body corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Side effects of the corticosteroids can include: increased blood pressure, weight gain, fluid retention, mood swings, upset stomach, fungal infections, and decreased immunity which can lead to more illnesses.

Other treatments focus on the cause of the irritations. The doctor may prescribe allergy testing to see if there is a specific item that is causing the allergic reactions. If there is a known issue, sometimes allergy shots can be given to help decrease the immune system's response to that allergen. There is no cure for asthma, but the goal is preventing the attacks and keeping the inflammation down.

Asthma Treatment by Acupuncture

Here at City Acupuncture Pain Clinic, our goal is to provide safe and helpful treatments for chronic asthma without the problematic side effects of medications. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may provide good relief for all ages including children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly.

How Acupuncture Works For Asthma

Acupuncture is a whole body medical treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine that stimulates exact points on the body with very tiny needles to treat many conditions. It has been treating the Chinese and Asian people over 2500 years, and most recently has uses in Western Medicine as an adjunct treatment.

Mechanism of Acupuncture

Those who are new to acupuncture may be surprised to know that the organs involved may not explicitly be needled. The body is made up of many different organ channels such as the liver, spleen, heart, and kidneys. These channels can be stimulated at specific points throughout the whole body instead of just at the area that is problematic. For example, for chronic asthma and shortness of breath, points in the hands and wrists, upper back, legs, and feet can be used. The most common side effects of acupuncture reported are pin-point bruising at the needle site, feeling lightheaded, and tiredness. These side-effects tend to dissipate quickly, and the body returns to normal.

Acupuncture Works to The Cause

Acupuncture helps the body's energy to flow freely. Just as one might imagine a series of plumbing pipes with various points of congestion, the water cannot go where it should. By needling the right positions, the energy in the pipes flows freely as they should. In the body, when the energy flows freely, the liver can filter the blood as it should decreasing the toxic buildup, the kidneys can excrete the wastes, and the heart can pump the blood more effectively. This free-flowing energy increases relaxation, lowers increased blood pressure, improves sleep, and enables the body to heal at a faster rate, all of which help the body to breathe better.

Please note: Acupuncture is not a substitute for your doctor's care, regular medications, or your emergency inhalers. Please follow all of your doctor's instructions for medications and treatments for chronic asthma. Also, if you are having life-threatening shortness of breath, contact emergency services immediately. 

A Partnership for Healthier Life

It is important to remember that you are a key part of controlling your asthma. Here are a few ways you can take an active part in your treatment:

  • Try keeping a diary to track your specific triggers.
  • Be sure to keep all of your health care providers fully informed. This includes talking to them about any medications or herbs you may be taking, as well as any changes in your symptoms.
  • Follow your practitioner's recommendations for self-care. These might include exercises such as Qi Gong, yoga, dietary changes, or stress-relief measures such as meditation.

By making positive lifestyle choices and working closely with your practitioner, you'll truly be taking charge of your life.

Be Aware of The Trigger

Asthma attacks are generally caused by one or more triggers, including:

  • A cold, flu, bronchitis, or sinus infection
  • Allergens including dust mites, tree and grass pollen, mold, and animal dander
  • Irritants that include tobacco smoke, strong fragrances, and air pollution
  • Certain foods and food additives
  • Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Changes in weather
  • Strong emotions such as anxiety, stress, grief and anger

Approaches of Treatment

Generally, the available approach of treatment is to try and prevent attacks. This is usually done with regular use of anti-inflammatory medications, inhaled steroids and leukotriene inhibitors. Once an asthma attack is underway, quick-acting medications like corticosteroids may be able to relieve it. Most of these medications can cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, muscle tremors, and insomnia. However, many people have found that acupuncture treatment may help reduce asthma attacks, improve lung function, and even lower the amount of medication needed.

An acupuncturist will take a holistic, or whole-body approach in order to determine what areas of the body are affected and out-of-balance and contributing to the attacks. Since acupuncture and TCM take into account your overall well-being, your practitioner may also address other issues that may be contributing to your asthma, such as exercise, diet and stress. Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and pain-free approach to many conditions, and you may find that your overall health improves along with your symptoms.

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Adelaide SA 5000

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Time Honoured Modalities We Use

– Multi-modalities of natural therapies are used

LightNeedle

The innovative laser needle for acupuncture, therapy of deep tissue layers and laser blood irradiation (non-invasive)

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Acupuncture Therapy

Traditional disposable fine needles used to insert into acupuncture points delivering stimulation to meridians to treat disorders.

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Chinese Medicine

Easy taking cGMP granulated Chinese herbal medicine is used for treating disorders systemically together with acupuncture.

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Tui-Na Massage

Chinese style remedial massage for muscular stiffness, pain and internal disorders being used in conjunction with acupuncture.

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Chinese Nutrition

Balanced nutritions with good eating and life style modification are critical for recovery from illness.

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Fire Cupping

We use traditional fire cupping in treating muscular pain, sports injuries and skin disorders.

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Gua-Sha therapy for skin detoxification

Gwa Sha

Clearing toxin through gentle scoop sliding on the skin create light bruising to treat various disorders.

Tai Chi / Qi Gong

Tai Chi for health cultivation being used in our clinic and taught to our patients for their self practice.

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Reference:

  1. Asthma. U.S. National Library of Medicine Medical Encyclopedia. 10/30/2006. Link
  2. Alternative Therapy for Asthma. WebMD. 12/1/2006.
  3. Chen, J., Pharm, D. Treatment of Asthma with Herbs and Acupuncture.
  4. Acufinder.com Acupuncture Learning & Resource Centre.