Most Clinical Studies Fail to Prove the Effectiveness of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Asthma

Because of the serious side effects anti asthma drugs have on people, a growing number of asthma sufferers are turning to a non-chemical solution to their health issue.

Certain studies have proven that acupuncture has the ability to help, especially when it is carried out by a qualified and experienced practitioner who is also well-tuned to the patient’s needs.

The Problem with Studies

Almost all kind of clinical studies about acupuncture have been limited in a number of ways. They seem to use a different protocol to test the effectiveness of the treatment that is very different to that used in actually daily acupuncture treatment. Clinical trials test for two different forms of acupuncture, which only complicates the results.

In a review archived in the Cochrane Library about a study on asthma and acupuncture, the outcomes of two small studies that used two kinds of acupuncture were gathered. But the study concluded that there was inadequate data that would determine the effectiveness of acupuncture to the population as a whole.

Scientists often try to find the best acupoint combinations for the treatment of asthma as clinical trials are often limited to a few number of case studies. However, in clinical practice, the actual treatment protocol is far more specific and the acupoints selected for treatment are dependent on the types of deficiency and excess of the patient.

Also, certain acupoints on the back and front of the ribcage are traditionally treated to help improve the breathing of the asthma patient; in clinical textbooks and trials, they only mention a few of these acupoints.

Asthma Treatment Using Acupuncture

The Western method of studying the effectiveness of acupuncture has made it impossible for people to appreciate this powerful modality for the treatment of various kinds of diseases and instead of providing a wealth of evidence of acupuncture’s potency, most clinical studies about the treatment have made the treatment less attractive to people.

So what do people have to do make an informed decision? People should rely more on testimonies of people who actually underwent an acupuncture procedure and had really significant improvement of their condition because of the treatment.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture deem diseases such as asthma as a sign that the body is suffering from a hidden disharmony. Hence, a patient who goes for treatment to a qualified practitioner who has the ability to diagnose and determine what underlying disharmony is plaguing the patient, will have a very big chance of having his condition treated.

Having said that, it is not the job of the acupuncturist to recommend to his/her asthma patients stopping their asthma medications entirely; can you imagine if you stop using your inhaler and suddenly you have an asthma attack? The consequences would be horrible! The way to wean yourself off your meds is to reduce their intake gradually and cautiously. Patients need to approach this in a manner that is safe and comfortable to them.

Asthma According to the Point of View of TCM

TCM practitioners traditionally see asthma as the result of disorders associated with kidney, stomach, and lung functions. And so, a lot of the potential acupoints needed to be treated can be found along the meridians related to those organs and also the meridian related to the bladder.

Some acupoints where bladder meridians are found are located on the upper part of the back. These are needled for asthma treatment and for the clearing of obstacles that block the flow of qi in the back. These points are vital for the relief of the severity of asthma breathing.

TCM’s view of the body organs is very different to the way Western medicine sees them, which is purely anatomical. The organs In TCM carry with them certain energetic, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects.

Based on the theory of the Five Elements an interconnection exists between the different organ systems and this is used for diagnosing the patterns of disharmony. The five TCM elements are water, metal, earth, fire, and wood.

Asthma is the result of an imbalance in the element of metal. Metal is associated with the yang organ, large intestine and the yin organ, lung. The color and season corresponding to metal are white and autumn, respectively. This element is responsible for the removal of waste, skin issues, and respiration and if the metal element becomes imbalanced, the result may include feelings of grief or sadness, bowel problems, coughing, skin conditions, shortness of breath, or asthma.