Acupuncture for Tonsillitis

What are tonsils and what kind of functions do they exactly perform?

The tonsils are located at the back of the mouth and are organs considered components of the lymphatic system. The tonsils help the body ward off infections and infiltrations of foreign matters. These organs help filter out bacteria and act like a guard to the entrance to the throat and nasal pathway. They are considered the first line of defense in the body’s self-defense mechanisms.

What is acute tonsillitis?

Acute tonsillitis is defined as the swelling and inflammation of the tonsils causing pain and discomfort in the person. It is often regarded as a mild condition although it can cause problems in breathing or swallowing or can become a source of chronic infection.

What are the signs and symptoms of acute tonsillitis?

The most common symptom of tonsillitis is a mild sore throat. If the tonsillitis lingers and not given appropriate medical attention, the tonsils become even more inflamed and swollen causing the throat sore to become very severe. Besides the sore throat, other symptoms like swallowing difficulties, general weakness, a rapid pulse and fever may arise due to acute tonsillitis.

What causes acute tonsillitis?

When the tonsils become infected, their swelling and inflammation to combat the infection is a natural defense mechanism. More often than not, tonsillitis is caused by a streptococcal infection of the throat.

How does acupuncture play a role in treating acute tonsillitis?

Traditional Chinese medicine considers acute tonsillitis to be the accumulation of toxins (TCM practitioners usually call these toxins as Heat) in the Abdomen and Lung meridians in the body, complicated by a Wind invasion. The meridians are pathways in the body where vital energy known as Qi travels through. Treatment focuses in the removal of Wind, as well as in extinguishing excess Heat. Boosting the immune system is also required to strengthen the defense mechanism of the body to ward off any recurrences of the disease. Herbal therapy and auricular acupuncture are sometimes used depending on the seriousness of the condition.


Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Tonsillitis Risk Factors

Tonsillitis oftentimes occurs in children. A child 10 years old and below is particularly susceptible to this condition. The reason why young children are highly at risk to develop tonsillitis compared to teens and adults is because their immune system is not yet fully developed. As the child grows up, his tonsils shrink in size making the occurrence of tonsillitis highly unlikely as he ages. Among babies and toddlers, tonsillitis caused by a virus is more common while in older children and adults, their tonsillitis may be more caused by bacterial infection than anything else.

Another risk factor for tonsillitis is when a person suffers from mononucleosis. Adults very seldom develop tonsillitis. Almost 80% of adults in the United States still have their tonsils. There are occasions when the tonsils, throat and surrounding areas become infected.  When this happens the person suffering has tonsillitis called pharyngitis which is more severe than a typical tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can lead to pharyngitis.

Children who are regularly subjected secondhand smoke at home have a much greater chance of needing surgery for repetitive tonsillitis compared to children from smoke-free homes.  Sadly, about 20% of all tonsillectomies done in the U.S. are attributed to secondhand smoke.

Another high risk for tonsillitis includes people suffering from nasal obstruction. This forces you to respire using your mouth upping your chances for developing tonsillitis. Other risk factor includes frequent contact with a person who has been infected with tonsillitis.