Acupuncture for Asthma
Asthma is one of the most common respiratory conditions in America, and causes inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. According to information provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, 1 in 13 people in the US have asthma. The CDC estimated that 1 in 2 people had an asthma attack in a given year, and many of these attacks could have been prevented.
Many people with asthma need to manage the condition on a daily basis, through a combination of quick-relief medications, self-care and longer-term therapies. Treating asthma is often frustrating for patients, especially as certain inhaled medications can be hard to get the hang of.
For patients who don’t enjoy the burden of daily medication, and want to avoid the side effects that it comes with, non-invasive alternative treatments have a much greater appeal. One of the most promising therapies for the effective reduction of asthma symptoms is acupuncture.
How Acupuncture for Asthma Works
As a holistic therapy, acupuncture is most commonly used to decrease the severity of asthma and improve asthma symptoms. The therapy involves inserting needles into various pressure points around the body, which stimulates the nervous system to communicate more effectively with the brain.
In asthma patients, when various pressure points are stimulated, the brain is thought to release hormones that regulate the body’s reactions to internal and external factors, reducing inflammation and chest tightness and making breathing easier.
The most common acupuncture pressure points for treating asthma include the wrist below the base of the thumb, the elbow joint, and the throat below the Adam’s apple. These pressure points are thought to be most effective at decreasing the asthma-related pro-inflammatory markers in the body, offering relief from breathing and wheezing problems.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Asthma
The studies into the benefits of acupuncture for asthma so far are limited. Larger-scale studies are needed for us to fully understand the effects of acupuncture on asthma patients, but research so far highlights some promising results.
One review looked at randomized control trials to determine how acupuncture may be used to treat children with asthma, and concluded that the therapy may have a beneficial effect with respect to PEF (maximum speed of exhalation) or PEF variability in children with asthma.
Another study looked specifically at the effects of acupuncture on patients with allergic asthma. Participants received 15 acupuncture sessions over 3 months, and received routine care alongside this treatment. The study’s results showed that acupuncture was associated with improved health-related quality of life for asthma patients after 3 months, and treatment success was maintained at 6 months.
The Future of Acupuncture for Asthma
Acupuncture has been used for years as an ancient Chinese therapy, but it’s only now that the treatment is becoming mainstream. As acupuncture presents the potential for long-term relief from pain and inflammation, it is certainly a favorable treatment for asthma. The future of acupuncture as a primary treatment for asthma seems highly likely.