Asthma is a long-term condition that affects more than 20 million Americans. Caring for a chronic condition such as asthma can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that it can be controlled.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be powerful allies in the management of asthma, and they work well in conjunction with other types of treatment.
The facts about asthma:
Asthma is an inflammatory disease in which the airways become blocked or narrowed, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Some people have long periods without symptoms, while others may always experience difficulty breathing. Asthma attacks occur when
something triggers the inflammation of the respiratory system. Flare ups can be severe—sometimes even life threatening.
Asthma attacks are generally caused by one or more triggers, including:
• A cold, flu, bronchitis, or sinus infection
• Allergens including dust mites, tree and grass pollen, mold, and animal dander
• Irritants that include tobacco smoke, strong fragrances, and air pollution
• Certain foods and food additives
• Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs
• Strenuous exercise
• Changes in weather
• Strong emotions such as anxiety, stress, grief and anger.
Generally, the available approach of asthma treatment in Western Medicine is to try and prevent attacks. This is usually done with regular use of anti-inflammatory medications, inhaled steroids and leukotriene inhibitors.
Once an asthma attack is underway, quick-acting medications like corticosteroids may be able to relieve it. However, most of these medications can cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, muscle tremors, and insomnia.
Fortunately is, many people have found that acupuncture treatment may help reducing asthma attacks, improving lung function, and even lower the amount of medication needed.
What Asthma is in TCM(Traditional Chinese Medicine)?
In TCM, asthma is known as “Xiao Chuan,” which means “wheezing” and “shortness of breath.” It is caused by a variety of factors that involve an imbalance with Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”), and of the organ systems, generally an imbalance with one or more the Lungs, Spleen or Kidney.
An acupuncturist will take a holistic, or whole-body approach in order to determine what areas of the body are affected and out- of-balance and contributing to the attacks. Since acupuncture and TCM take into account your overall well-being, your practitioner may also address other issues that may be contributing to your asthma, such as exercise, diet and stress. Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and pain-free approach to many conditions, and you may find that your overall health improves along with your asthma symptoms.
Furtherlly, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), asthma goes beyond a simple diagnosis of “asthma” . Below are some of the more common TCM diagnoses that your acupuncturist may discover and treat.
- Invasion of Wind
- Lung weakness
- Kidney weakness
- Spleen weakness
- Liver imbalance
- Liver Heat
- Wei Qi deficiency
- Phlegm/damp in the Lungs
Treatment for asthma is broken down into two categories: managing the acute attacks by easing the intensity of the attack and maximizing the time between the attacks. The long-term goal of treatment is to provide the patient with a better quality of life or
increased feeling of well being and increase well-being.
A patient is having asthma attacks every other week instead of every week after receiving acupuncture treatments, treatments can really be able to bring them a better quality of life. because they endure only half of the attacks than before. This reduction is a very important aspect to treating recurrent, chronic diseases such as asthma.
Self-Care for Asthma
You are an important part of your asthma treatment team. Learning how to prevent and manage your asthma symptoms are part of living with asthma. You can take charge of your day-to-day asthma care by:
• Learning which triggers can cause your asthma symptoms to flare up and avoid them.
• To recognize early symptoms or worsening symptoms. Understanding how to properly use all medications including inhalers and oxygen, how to contact emergency services for help.
• Making treatment plan to build the immune system (TCM: Wei Qi) when you don’t have asthma attack.