My first experience with the wonders of acupuncture in treating asthma was as an intern. Just walking into the clinic, a man followed who was in the middle of a severe asthma attack. I grabbed the Senior instructor, who worked swiftly and placed only 4 acupuncture needles in the appropriate locations, and instantly his breathing calmed down, and soon he fell asleep. Having worked in the Emergency Room as a nurse, I knew the typical response to treatments, and this was nothing short of miraculous!
Obviously, one treatment didn't cure his asthma, but after a series of treatments, I was able to witness a complete resolution of his asthma. Since then, I have been able to control and/or eliminate asthma in many other people. The most common ailment I treat children for is asthma. This is particularly rewarding because I know I am helping prevent them from having a lifetime of asthma medications, most of which are steroid hormones which contribute to a variety of other health issues. By eliminating their asthma, I eliminate a host of other potential health challenges.
Treating asthma with acupuncture is only part of the picture. Using nutrition and naturopathic remedies are also vital components in resolving this frightening disease.
When treating asthma, acupuncturists do not just treat the lungs. The body is viewed as a complex matrix of factors that contribute to asthma, including lungs, stomach, spleen and kidney health. Therefore, during evaluation, a comprehensive history and examination is essential to determining the underlying cause of the asthma. The person is treated, not just the disease. Although there is considerable diversity in treatment strategies depending on the person, acupuncture, especially in combination with good nutrition, remains one of the premier modalities utilized in resolving asthma.
I suffered with asthma for over 35 years, since birth. I couldn’t breathe. It had gotten so bad that walking up & down the stairs in the house was hard. I couldn’t sleep lying down on the bed. Friends told me that they could hear in my voice over the phone that I was short of breath. I was using an inhaler 15 times a day and albuterol treatments twice a day. I had an inhaler in my nightstand, in my car, in my purse and an extra on hand. I would freak out if I didn’t have one around me, which would trigger an asthma attack.
I am a very active person. Horses and playing polo were a very big part of my life growing up. My father and sister also played polo. It became harder and harder. Other people would have to play for me or I couldn’t finish a game. Struggling to breathe made me irritable, affecting my relationships with others. I traveled a lot for work and flying with plugged up sinuses is absolute torture! Stress and traveling made things so much worse, it just wasn’t worth it anymore.
It has been a year since I began seeing Dr. Carling and I am a totally different person. Within a month of commencing acupuncture treatments and nutritional therapy, I was down to using the inhaler once per day. Now, I still have a problem every once in a while, but not near as severe. It’s been about a month since I last used my inhaler. I have only been sick one time in the last year. It used to be 4 to 6 times in a year. I mean sick like in bed sick…can’t breathe, fever sick!
I learned that asthma is also triggered by stress – physical and emotional. I was a stressed out mess. I didn’t realize that one of the side effects from inhalers is tension and irritability. My inhalers were helping me breathe, but at the same time made it worse, it was never going to go away.
I went to have acupuncture several times for breathing problems instead of using my inhalers. One time Dr. Carling put the needles in a few places on my chest. I was concerned because I didn’t want to lie on the table because when I lay down flat on my back it’s harder to breathe. By the time she was done putting in the other needles and shut the door, I felt my chest make this crackling, pulling feeling. I kind of panicked and went to sit up, then realized that I wasn’t struggling to breathe. So I lay back down and my chest just opened up. It was the strangest feeling, but it worked. It worked just as fast as my inhalers.
I have been able to participate in all the activities, such as pitching hay, riding horses and working on my farm, which so often made my asthma worse in the past. Life is so much better now that I can breathe!