Research Update: Acupuncture and Respiratory Issues


The Journal of Complementary Medicine Research conducted a study that compiled the research from multiple trials to evaluate the effects of acupoint application for asthma in adults. Eight separate studies were included in the review. The results indicated acupoint application decreased the production of immunoglobulin E and increased the amount of air people could exhale in a single breath – a common way to diagnose asthma, because lung congestion reduces one’s exhalation capacity. The review concluded acupoint application, whether it be acupressure or acupuncture, helps improve pulmonary function, while reducing the levels of immunoglobulin E and interleukins in the blood.

Respiratory issues and deaths associated with them have shot up tremendously over the past 35 years in the United States. The number of deaths from chronic respiratory illnesses jumped from 41 in 100,000 in 1980 to 53 in 100,000 by 2014. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is the leading cause of respiratory deaths, but other ailments like asthma, interstitial lung disease and pneumoconiosis are also contributors. In many cases, symptoms are merely masked or managed through the use of pharmaceuticals. But, alternatives like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can address both the symptoms and the root causes of the disease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers how the psyche affects the physical body, making emotional wellness just as important as physical health.

In TCM, every organ is associated with a series of properties. These associations provide clues that help the TCM practitioner locate the root of the physical problems, while guiding them through the treatments. The lungs are associated with grief and sadness, the season of fall, the color white and the pungent flavor. The energy of the lungs is very important to all aspects of human life. When the body’s energy is imbalanced, disease or illness my take root.

The lungs are known as the “Prime Minister” in TCM. They control breath and energy, while assisting the heart with the circulation of blood throughout the body. The lungs also control the skin, which breathes through the opening and closing of the pores, helping to regulate body temperature both through perspiration and shivering.

Acupuncture can be a great asset in balancing the energy of the lungs. The function of the lungs is to descend and dispense energy downwards and to dissipate it outwards. When acupuncture points are stimulated the flow of your lung energy can greatly improve, while opening up the airways and increasing the uptake of oxygen within the cells of the whole body. Acupuncture also helps relax the muscles associated with breathing, allowing lung energy to flow properly.

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