A sore throat is usually a sign that a person is infected with the common cold or is a symptom of an allergic reaction. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), sore throats can be the result of a number of factors including dryness, wind and heat. Practitioner of TCM will usually treat a set of points to quell symptoms and address the root of the illness. Before going for acupuncture treatment, you need to first talk to your doctor regarding your symptoms and talk to him/her about your intention of getting acupuncture for your condition.
Acupuncture Points and Meridians
TCM theory states that the body is made up of vital energy or qi that circulates throughout your body through vessels of energy known as meridians. Each meridian is associated with a specific inner organ that dictates the meridians’ purpose and pathway. Activating specific points that are just superficially located above a meridian can help bring about balance in the involved organ, leading to a potential balance of the entire body. Each point plays a unique function although there are points that can also provide for multiple functions. Points useful for the treatment of sore throat can involve those that target the underlying causes, improve moisture and clear heat.
Points to Clear Heat
When observed, sore throats can look red, which means that heat exists (based on traditional Chinese medicine theory). To remove the painful obstruction of the throat and clear heat, the acupuncture points Lung 10 or 11 are treated (with needle or acupressure). The lung 11 point is situated next to the outer edge of the base of the thumb nail. Drops of blood can be drawn out to remove heat. Another point, the large intestine point 1 located near the index finger’s nail, can also be needled as doing so helps remove heat and treat sore throat.
Points for Dryness
A stuffy nose is caused by congestion in the sinus forcing you to respire through your mouth causing a dry throat and mouth. For this condition, your acupuncturist can treat a combination of points that bring on moisture and relieve soreness of the throat, while at the same time helping to normalize mucosal fluid and drain sinuses. The large intestine 4 as well as lung points 7 and 11 can treat symptoms related to head colds and congestion. Needling kidney 6 and spleen, both located on the leg and conception vessel 12 found on the chest can bring in moisture and normalize body fluids.
Acupuncture points lying on the affected parts of the body are termed local points. The stimulation of the acupuncture points on the throat and neck can also help relieve pain and soreness in the throat. The large intestine points 17 and 18 found along the sides of the neck can be needled to alleviate swallowing difficulty and soreness. Conception vessel 22 is found immediately above your breastbone can treat loss of voice, throat pain and clear phlegm in the throat.
Ivelisse DeJongh is a Miami acupuncturist and the medical director at DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic.