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Asthma and Bronchitis: Acupuncture Treatment



Acupuncture has been proven to be a safe adjunct therapy for respiratory diseases, including bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, and chronic respiratory insufficiency. The acupuncture approach for these respiratory conditions is fundamentally similar.

Acupuncture points are selected from lung reflex areas located on the back, chest, and the flexor side of the upper limbs, where tender or nodular spots are found. Auricular acupressure can also be employed, targeting ear points corresponding to the Lung, Asthma, Kidney, Adrenal, Sympathetic, and Subcortex reflex areas. Additionally, cupping therapy on the chest or back can complement the treatment.


The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating bronchial asthma or chronic bronchitis is widely recognized, particularly in terms of subjective patient experiences. Improvements are often reflected in the reduced need for bronchodilators or corticosteroids. Acupuncture not only provides immediate relief during acute asthma attacks but also shows long-term benefits for many chronic sufferers. However, for severe asthma attacks or acute bronchitis with intense symptoms, it is important not to abruptly discontinue medication to avoid delaying disease control.


Numerous clinical studies have explored the mechanisms of acupuncture in treating asthma and bronchitis. Acupuncture's corrective actions include reducing non-specific bronchial hypersensitivity, normalizing blood levels of acetylcholine, re-sensitizing β-adrenergic receptors, elevating levels of 11-OCS and mean concentrations of T lymphocytes. Far-infrared laser acupuncture can significantly improve bronchial openness, increase bronchial sensitivity to parasympathetic stimulation, and reduce pulmonary arterial pressure. The efficacy of acupuncture in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is based on its effects on the bronchi and reducing pulmonary vascular resistance.


Clinical experience to date suggests that there is indeed specificity in the acupuncture points used for treating asthma and bronchitis. Points in lung reflex areas distributed across the anterior chest, posterior back, and inner side of the upper limbs are particularly effective.

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