If you have asthma, COPD, or are just stuffed up from a cold or sinus problem, a breath of fresh air may not be so easy. Most people run for medications when it gets bad enough, but many would prefer not to, or wish to reduce their steroid medications as much as they can. That’s where acupuncture helps.
Acupuncturists are trained in the treatment of respiratory ailments in all their various forms. In addition, they have the skills to use herbs and even foods to help.
According to a study that appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, quoted in WebMD, “People who received real acupuncture also showed improvements in their quality of life and ability to exercise, according to researchers from Kyoto University and Meiji University of Integrative Medicine in Kyoto, Japan.” They stated that people who received acupuncture “were able to walk longer without becoming breathless”, and noticed one other remarkable thing – that the acupuncture improved stomach function, which made it easier for people with COPD to eat a healthy diet and maintain normal weight.
How acupuncture works for respiratory disorders, from a medical perspective, is not fully understood. It has been shown to release chemicals that help to relax the lungs and dilate the airways. And, since acupuncture is known for reducing anxiety and promoting calmness, it is presumed that that this more relaxed state also helps asthmatics and those struggling for air. Dr Tong-Joo Gan, MD, professor of anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., says “When you become breathless, your anxiety goes up, so relaxation is another possible explanation for the benefit [of acupuncture treatments].” He continues: “Clearly it looks like a viable alternative to treat chronic COPD.” “The downside is so little and the upside is so huge that acupuncture is well worth a try for those who find it difficult to control their COPD despite medications.”
Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York says he “regularly uses acupuncture to help smokers kick the habit. It also helps people with asthma and can allow them to use fewer steroids”.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are also helpful in supporting healthy immune functioning. We frequently see people suffering from many upper respiratory tract infections, like the common cold. When we do acupuncture they are amazed at how fast they recover, compared to their family or co-workers with the same maladies. When undergoing acupuncture for other conditions, they find their immune system is stronger and they resist more infections such as the flu and common cold.
So if you are suffering from a cold, sinus infection, allergy, bronchitis, asthma or one of the COPD lung diseases, try acupuncture. You just might be able to breathe a little bit easier.
© 2014 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.