Acupuncture and asthma may seem an unlikely combination. One is an alternative, esoteric and mysterious therapy while the other is a very common condition that roughly 20 million Americans suffer from. Multitudes suffer from asthma but very few of them have tried acupuncture.
For an asthma sufferer, the disease is often severe that any type of therapy that can help relieve the symptoms like acupuncture is most welcome. Most of us never think about our breathing since it’s an unconscious, easy and involuntary activity. Unless we’re sick, we easily inhale the oxygen we need. For asthma sufferers, however, breathing becomes a laborious process and there is always the likelihood that an attack of asthma will force them to gasp for air. There are occasions when these attacks can be predictable and there are times when they are not. Sometimes they can be minor attacks and can be easily managed at home, but sometimes sufferers may require treatment in an emergency room. These are some of the reasons why now a lot of asthma sufferers have resorted to acupuncture therapy to overcome their asthma symptoms.
There is no cure for asthma. It is a chronic malady that has different types. All of these types possess similar symptoms and signs. They include an unpleasant and alarming sensation of suffocation, rapid heartbeat, sweating and rapid breathing. The real cause of asthma is like its cure, unknown, although scientists think genetics play a major factor in its development. However it is an undeniable fact that environmental factors like pollution, dust, cold, etc., do trigger the attacks. The narrowing of the respiratory tract and inflammation during attacks lessens the amount of air that can be inhaled. The attacks can last a few minutes to several hours. But even if no cure is in sight, there are several modes of treatment available and there are patients and practitioners who think that acupuncture is the best treatment for asthma.
The word acupuncture is derived from two Latin words “acus” and “pungere” which means needle and puncture respectively. This treatment is a very old healing art that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. The exact origin of acupuncture is rather obscure but it has been most closely connected with China. The process of acupuncture therapy involves the insertion of very thin acupuncture needles into the skin that barely break the surface of the skin at specific strategic points in the body. Acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners believe that the needles help rectify a disharmony in the circulation of vital energy known as chi throughout the body. This disharmony is believed to cause illness. Western conventional medicine has a number of hypotheses regarding the workings of acupuncture. It believes that the needles stimulate the release of the body’s “feel good” chemicals known as endorphins to relieve pain.
Does acupuncture really work?
The exact question should be “does acupuncture indeed help treat asthma? “ Similar to the paucity of explanations as to how asthma works, the answer to acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating asthma is likewise few and unclear although the answer may differ from one TCM practitioner to another. Most traditional acupuncturists believe that acupuncture is a viable therapy for asthma, especially for young children with asthma. There are literally thousands of testimonials posted in websites that bear witness to acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating this disease. These people state acupuncture has worked where anything else has failed.
Since Western medicine and Eastern medicine often do not see illnesses in a similar manner, it is no surprise that western scientists and doctors trained in the scientific method and Western medicine do not believe that acupuncture really treats asthma. They state that acupuncture may be a medical oddity but they do not think that it can treat asthma. There is no scientific evidence that can conclusive prove that acupuncture works. Most scientists believe that the effects of acupuncture can be explained by the placebo effect. This theory states that medical procedures/techniques or medications may be experienced by the patient as effective because of their belief of their effectiveness although no measurable effect exists for them.
So acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating asthma may be based on a person’s point of view. If one thinks that the illness is the result of the disruption in the flow of energy flow and he/she believes in anecdotal evidences, then acupuncture surely works. The only way to be sure is to try it and see if it works for you. Acupuncture for the treatment of asthma is a very safe procedure. It has no negative side effects and if there are, they rarely occur. However, if you are the sort of person who wants proof based on scientific data, it would be better if you just continue with the western modes of asthma treatment: therapies and medications and wait for solid proof that acupuncture treats asthma in a scientific way.
Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232