Acupuncture for Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)

There are two types of sore throat: chronic and acute. Acute forms of sore throat are based on wind heat and so may manifest symptoms such as a rapid, floating pulse, cough with yellow phlegm, and fever.

The traditional Chinese medicine remedy for a sore throat diagnosis is Yin Chiao Hsie Du Pian. The more immediate the formula is taken, the more effective and quicker its effects. For a severe type of sore throat, this formula is added with Chuan Hsin Lian Antiphlogistic tablets or pills. If they don’t work and the sore throat gets more serious, you need to see a doctor ASAP.

A chronic sore throat oftentimes is due to an underlying deficiency of yin since a deficient yin means the body lacks a cooling system that may lead to chronic inflammation. Yin deficiency symptoms can include insomnia, irritability, night sweats, dry mouth, a red tongue with little or no coating, and a rapid, thin pulse. The plan of treatment is to clear the heat and tonify yin using remedies such as Rehmannia Tea remedies. These formulas need to be taken for a few months in order to produce longstanding benefits. Acute sore throats often diminish after one to two days of acupuncture and herbal medicine. The LI (Large Intestine) 4 and 11 (Crooked Pool) are usually needled for this condition. For severe symptoms, the Lung 10 point is quite effective. This point, however, may elicit pain when it is needled and so is only treated when the sore throat is especially painful and severe and the patient doesn’t mind feeling a little pain to alleviate his painful symptoms.

Treating Stress with Traditional Chinese Medicine

First world nations have societies that basically live a hectic, fast-paced life. And so majority of the people living in those societies suffer from extreme stress. Many of them have a high risk of developing cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, stroke or even a heart attack.

Stress is obviously dealt with through the elimination of its cause. Ways of reducing stress may involve activities such as exercise, yoga, meditation, qi gong or spiritual activities that help alleviate effects of stress on both the body and mind.

One of the truly remarkable ways of removing stress in the body and mind is with acupuncture. Acupuncture patients feel very much emotionally calm and relaxed after a treatment. There are specific acupuncture points that cause a calmness effect that can help resolve anxiety disorders, addictions, and insomnia. In certain instances, an acupuncturist may tape a small seedlike bead to an acupoint on the ears. This point is referred to as “Spirit Gate.” This point can be activated when the bead is pressed causing a calming effect that is experienced during acupuncture treatment. Herbal remedies such as An Mien Pyen or Emperor’s Tea can also promote calmness to the patient. More strong extracts to induce sleep or treat anxiety such as Sisyphus Seed Stress/Sleep Formula is an effective and quick-acting formula for sleeplessness.

Besides those aforementioned herbs, other herbs called adaptogens make the body more resilient to stress. They include tonifying herbs like reishi mushroom, Codonopsis and Astragalus. They have been extensively studied in China and Russia and so their potency is well-verified.

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Acupuncture for Sore Throat

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.

Local Points

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.