Research Update: Acupuncture for Respiratory Issues
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine saw the efficacy of acupuncture treatments improve the respiratory status of patients on prolonged mechanical ventilation. The patients involved in the study were in critical care and treated with acupuncture four times a week. Of the 16 participants, 11 were successfully weaned off of mechanical ventilation once acupuncture treatments began. All factors evaluating the patient’s breathing showed improvement.
This study shows regular acupuncture treatments can be beneficial to those suffering from both acute and chronic respiratory issues.
Respiratory issues and the 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. COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the leading cause of respiratory deaths, but other ailments like asthma, interstitial lung disease and pneumoconiosis are also contributors to the aforementioned numbers. In many cases, symptoms are merely masked or managed through the use of pharmaceuticals. But there are alternatives like Traditional Chinese Medicine that can address both the symptoms and the root causes of the disease.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a holistic approach to the body. Everything exists within the circle of nature according to TCM theory. Balanced elements lead to a harmonious life and a balanced body, mind and soul. TCM also considers how the psyche affects the physical body, making emotional wellness just as important as physical health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, 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 associations of the lungs include the emotion of grief/sadness, the season of fall, the color white and the pungent flavor. When the body is imbalanced, disease or illness my take root. Traditional Chinese Medicine views this as an imbalance of vital energy. The energy of the lungs is extremely important to all aspects of human life.
The lungs are known as the Prime Minister in TCM and as such, they control breath and energy, while assisting the heart with the circulation of blood throughout the body. Without energy, the blood will not flow causing illnesses. The lungs also control the skin, which breathes through the opening and closing of the pores, thus helping regulate body temperature. This is done through both 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. Acupuncture points on the body, when stimulated, can greatly improve the flow of lung energy, 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. This is what is commonly known as gasotransmitter therapy. Gasotransmitter therapy allows for the proper exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitric oxide between all the cells in the body. When this happens effectively and efficiently, disease is less likely to occur.