Wondering if acupuncture holds any benefit in easing your asthma control or asthma symptoms. It may seem especially appealing for trials because unlike medication, acupuncture has few known side effects.
Acupuncture is an effective therapeutic method in asthma treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. But till date, few clinical trials have shown that acupuncture may help improve asthma symptoms.
In the 2015 publication of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found acupuncture may help some people with asthma breath better. Under laboratory conditions, it significantly reduces symptoms of asthma such as airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and the associated inflammatory changes in mice treated with acupuncture.
Asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs, affects an estimated 300 million people around the world. Although it is considered a treatable disease with proper medication, it still claims thousands of lives annually. But its care can be frustrating. Inhaled medications can be tricky to use properly.
Daily medications can seem like a burden and may cause some horrible side effects. Many people worry about the potential for harmful effects with long-term use of medications. Even faithful adherence to treatment programmes does not guarantee freedom from asthmatic symptoms or from frightening asthmatic attacks.
It is little wonder; some persons with asthma turn to “alternative” therapies, especially ones not involving medications such as vitamins, special diets, exercise programs, and acupuncture, to avoid taking man-made chemicals into one’s body.
Acupuncture has been practised for thousands of years in China and other Asian countries. It is currently under study for a wide range of conditions based on the medical philosophy that energy flows through the human body in opposing “positive” and “negative” forces, yin and yang.
Diseases, including asthma, are thought to represent an imbalance of these forces. Energy is said to flow through the body along certain specific paths, called meridians. By introducing needles into the skin at certain identified points along these meridians, the balance of forces is thought to be modified to the benefit of the patient.
Dr Bade Adewale, an acupuncture expert and member, Medical and Dental Council on Alternative Medicine, declared that even in Nigeria, acupuncture has been found effective in the treatment of asthma.
Adewale declared, “We have what is called the lung channel, it is one of the 12 regular channels. The lung channel takes charge of all respiratory issues, including asthma.
“We adopt acupuncture for treating asthma, especially when western medicine has refused to give consequential results. Sometimes, we use it in combination with drugs, homeopathy and natural products in the management of asthma.”
Adewale, the medical consultant at Subol Hospital, Egbeda-Ikotun, Road, Subol bus stop, Idimu, Lagos, remarked that many people now patronise acupunctures, a complementary form of therapy, for asthma to avoid the undesirable side effects of conventional asthma medicines.
According to him, “In fact, it provides readymade remedy to an asthmatic attack when the person is without his or her inhaler. It can ensure that the patient has immediate relief.”
Adewale, however, cautioned: “if you decide to try acupuncture, work with an experienced and licensed acupuncturist. Such of course, will be conversant and versatile with his needles as well as locate the acupuncture points.”
Meanwhile, a study conducted by the University Of Vienna Department Of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care showed that at least 70 per cent of the patients suffering from asthma reported improvement after undergoing regular acupuncture treatment for a span of 10 weeks.
Another study, conducted in Kaifeng City’s Department of Acupuncture in the Second Municipal People’s Hospital in Henan, China, involved 192 patients with bronchial asthma. All patients were treated with acupuncture and results showed significant improvement in over 75 per cent of patients. Clinical remission also reduced and the majority of patients reported immediate relief post-treatment.
The study also showed that efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of asthma was related to the needle retention duration, the length of time the needle stays inserted. Long-term curative effects were also observed to be better with patients who experienced immediate positive results after treatments.