For sufferers of the lung condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, for short, the good news is that getting acupuncture can make you breathe a little easier.
An umbrella term for chronic or long-term lung conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, COPD is characterized by shortness of breath and chronic cough. Conventional therapies usually include bronchodilators and inhaled steroids to clear up airways and make breathing a bit easier.
An acupuncture treatment for COPD study was performed involving the participation of 68 people all suffering from COPD. Some of them were administered with acupuncture treatments for three months along with their daily medicines. The rest received fake or sham acupuncture therapy. This is a type of acupuncture wherein the needles did not enter the person’s skin.
After three months, the people who were given acupuncture combined with regular medication had the ability to walk longer without feeling breathless compared to the sham acupuncture treatment group. The online edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine posted this study in the internet.
Another study performed in Kyoto, Japan by researchers in the Meiji University of Integrative Medicine and Kyoto University showed that persons with COPD who were treated with real acupuncture experienced marked improvements in their ability to exercise and in their quality of life.
Most COPD sufferers have issues getting optimal nutrition due to their condition. The Kyoto study demonstrated that acupuncture can boost the function of the stomach, making it easier for COPD sufferers to consume a healthy diet and preserve a normal weight.
COPD Symptoms and Acupuncture
No one knows for sure how acupuncture improves COPD symptoms. Scientists theorize that it may be due to the needling of the acupoints on the area of the ribcage. Treating that area with needles may ease the muscles that are responsible for breathing.
Besides that, acupuncture is also able to relieve anxiety. This is important in the treatment of COPD because when a person has breathing difficulty, his/her anxiety level rises. Therefore, relaxation is one other possible explanation why acupuncture benefits COPD patients. Acupuncture also has the ability to stimulate the release of chemicals that open up the airways and relax the lungs.
Acupuncture is a viable alternative treatment for chronic COPD. It has very little side effects and extremely effective in helping relieve the many symptoms of COPD. If you are considering getting acupuncture treatment, be sure to select a licensed acupuncturist in Bellingham who has experience or specializes in treating COPD.
Acupuncture is definitely worth a try if you have lung disease such as COPD. Pulmonary specialist Len Horowitz, state that regular acupuncture treatments can cure long time smokers of their habit. He also added that asthma sufferers who receive acupuncture treatment may lessen their need for steroids.
These days, more and more acupuncturists are treating patients suffering from COPD. However, it should be noted that acupuncture should be considered an adjunctive therapy to be used with other COPD treatments such as medications and not as substitute for them. Most COPD already consult with Western physicians and acupuncturists often recommend to their patients to consult first with their doctors and get the proper medications in order to keep their symptoms under control.