Asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs, affects an estimated 300 million people around the world. Although it is considered a treatable disease with proper medication, it still claims over 3,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. It is also one of the most common diseases for which patients turn to alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, for treatment and relief. Like all methods in Oriental medicine, acupuncture utilizes a holistic approach wherein treatment is focused on achieving overall health and well-being in order to remove the troublesome symptoms associated with asthma.
In traditional Chinese medicine, asthma is considered not just a disorder of the lungs but also of the kidneys and the stomach. This explains why the acupoints that correspond to the treatment of asthma are located along the lung, kidney, and stomach meridians. Acupoints along the bladder meridian are also treated since bladder function is considered important for the overall health of the body's organs.
Acupuncture is widely used as a preventative medicine technique, and as such, is most effective when used to treat initial attacks or mild bouts of asthma. The disease is one of 40 considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) that may benefit from acupuncture. One study conducted by the University of Vienna Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care showed that at least 70% of the patients suffering from asthma reported improvement after undergoing regular acupuncture treatment for a span of 10 weeks.
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