Acupuncture for COPD

Acupuncture can be a safe way to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD to respire a bit easier. Chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis all fall into the umbrella term known as COPD. This condition is often represented by shortness of breath and a chronic cough. COPD treatment usually involves the utilization of bronchodilators and inhaled steroids to clear and dilate airways to make respiration easier.

A study involving 68 subjects suffering from COPD had some of them receiving acupuncture, along with their daily medication, for about three months. The others were given sham acupuncture therapy wherein the needles did not penetrate their skin. The group given acupuncture along with their daily medication was able to walk longer without becoming breathless compared to the ones given sham acupuncture therapy.

This study was actually posted in the website of the Archives of Internal Medicine.  Individuals who were given real acupuncture also manifested improvements in their ability to exercise and in their quality of life, based on the study conduced in Kyoto, Japan by researchers from Meiji University of Integrative Medicine and Kyoto University.

A lot of people suffering from COPD are unable to attain optimal nutrition due to their condition. The study demonstrated that acupuncture can boost the function of the abdomen, making it easier for COPD sufferers to eat a healthy diet and preserve their normal healthy weight.

COPD Symptoms and Acupuncture

The exact manner in how acupuncture treats COPD symptoms is still a mystery to Western medical researchers. These people think that the needling process in acupuncture points on the rib cage area can help relax the muscles involved in respiration. Some experts think this makes sense since acupuncture can help bring down anxiety levels in a person. A person experiencing breathing difficulties has a high level of anxiety and relaxation thus can help explain the reason for the treatment.

As mentioned before, acupuncture can help dilate the airways and release chemicals that cause the lungs to relax. There is little, if ever, downside to the use of acupuncture in treating COPD. This modality is well worth a try for people who find it hard to deal with their COPD despite the use of drugs. However, if one does really consider getting acupuncture, he/she should only avail of the services of an experienced and licensed acupuncturist.

Some acupuncturists not only use acupuncture to treat COPD patients, they also use acupuncture to help smokers stop their habit. Acupuncture can also aid asthmatics in helping to lessen their dependency on steroids. One important thing to remember is that acupuncture should be always combined with drug therapy or other COPD therapies, not as a replacement for it.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.