Asthma Treatment with Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) reports that 34.1 million Americans have been diagnosed as having some form of asthma within their lifetime. Women and boys (especially African American boys with a 50% rise since 2001) are at the highest risk. Astonishingly, three hundred million people suffer from this disease worldwide and it accounts for approximately five hundred thousand hospitalizations each year. These numbers continue to grow and are often associated with many factors including environmental, emotional, pet related, hereditary and sometimes even dietary causes.

Asthma is a disorder of the lung airways creating an inflamed narrowness that results in difficult breathing symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, a tightened chest and more. Medications usually consist of steroidal formulas that temporarily open up these passageways and are often a lifetime prescription with prominent or covert side effects. People often feel trapped by this affliction which can significantly deter their quality of life especially when children are affected. Many patients do not know where else to go other than their doctor and pharmacy for treatment. However, approaching asthma from a different angle by using acupuncture and naturopathic medicine, this popular affliction may not only be considerably dissipated, in some cases it could very well be altogether eliminated.

The Cycle of Asthma
External factors that can trigger asthma attacks are often associated with a hot or cold temperature change. This is due to the lung dominating the qi and thus exhibiting on the skin. As the environment changes it affects the skin and therefore triggers the lungs to react creating a stagnant water manifestation eventually turning to phlegm.

According to Classical Chinese Medicine water is manipulated as follows:

  • Lung regulates water in the upper jiao
  • Spleen transports water eventually transforming it in the middle jiao
  • Kidney is the dominator of water in the lower jiao

Because of the drastic change in water due to outside and/or internal affects, the Yin Yang balance is interrupted. This contributes to the formation of water in the lungs which in turn creates and stores phlegm. Phlegm can inflame and constrict airway passages eventually resulting in one form or another of asthma.

Needling Airway Meridians – Phlegm Reversed
A review by Jobst and Helms cited “…significant improvement of “breathlessness” with acupuncture: 10 of 11 studies indicated that medication could be reduced with acupuncture treatment…Success was measured by reduction of medicine, general well-being, and decrease in perception of dyspnea or breathlessness.” These are only a few of the high marks acupuncture has received when treating this disease. Point locations that benefit asthma related conditions may include:

  • LU8 (Jingqu) – In the depression of the wrist just above the thumb Lung 8 descends lung qi dispelling coughing and wheezing.
  • REN (CV) 17 (Dan/Tan Zhong) – Ren/Conception Vessel 17 sits in the midway point between the two nipples just level with the 4th intercostals space. This tonifys the upper warmer relieving chest oppression and tightness.
  • ST40 (Fenglong) – About two fingers laterally anterior to the midway tibia, Stomach 40 alleviates cough and transports excessive phlegm/dampness associated with asthma. It also calms shen (emotion) and relieves heart phlegm as well.

Magnesium and Asthma
The mineral magnesium may be helpful for asthma patients. A joint study by researchers of Bastyr University and the University of California found that magnesium supplementation improved lung activity and the capacity to successfully inhale and exhale without obstruction in mild to moderate asthma patients. This mineral should be taken under the care of a naturopathic dpctor who will monitor the correct dosage according to specific individual requirements.

Treating Symptoms with Herbal Remedies
Ma Huang a/k/a ephedra was banned from American consumption in 2004. This was mainly due to irresponsible use resulting in this successful herbal remedy to be taken off the market. Working hand-in-hand with your naturopathic doctor will enable you to safely incorporate both Classical Chinese and conventional herbal remedy choices as per your specific asthma related conditions. Below are some herbs that may be used in strengthening lung, spleen, kidney qi and more.

  • Bishop’s Weed (Ammi Visnaga) – Smooth muscle spasm relief.
  • Pleurisy Root (Asclepias Tuberosa) – The liquid extract of this root acts as an expectorant which reduces breathing constriction.
  • Mullein Oil – Clears bronchial tubes and relieves coughing.
  • Tumeric – An uncontrolled Indian study showed 60% of asthma patients given turmeric powder in their ghee (food concoction) proved considerable relief to breathing symptoms.
  • Grindelia – This herb acts as an expectorant for bronchospasmolytic activity as a result of asthma and bronchitis.

Other herbs used for asthma include: perilla seed, garlic, hyssop, astragalus, vervian and stinging nettle.

The Vibration of Asthma
Homeopathy remedies can safely be used to treat asthma, in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal approaches, by tapping into the multi-level vibration of the body to possibly root out a deep cause. Chamomilla from the chamomile plant has been associated with treating a hard, dry cough as a result of exposed air or emotional upheaval. Ipecacauanha brings phlegm out of the bronchial tubes for breathing relief. Lobelia which soothes bronchial muscles thus reducing inflammation. Carbo vegetablis works best in the evening when certain foods (such as night shades or allergens) may induce an attack.

Beware of Asthma Triggers
While working through asthma, applying the above remedies trough a competent practitioner is essential. However, there are additional remedies you can incorporate into your lifestyle to take further control of this challenge. By avoiding asthma triggers the duration and severity of some attacks can be reduced. Triggers come in many forms. Some are food related while others could be environmental. Processed foods, specific food additives, tobacco, pesticides and nuts are only a few. Investigate what your triggers may be by visiting Integrative Med Solutions, where we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980  914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

One Response to “Breathing New Breath with Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine”

  1. Stephen Unwin says:

    The first time in ages that I used Yahoo for search and got an interesting result. Thank you.

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