Acupuncture and Breathing Problems
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that makes it difficult to breathe. The airways in individuals with COPD are partially blocked, making it difficult to get air in and out of the lungs. COPD is usually a mix of two diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In emphysema, the tiny air sac in the lungs are damaged and unable to stretch properly, which causes individuals to feel short of breath. In chronic bronchitis, the airways that carry air to the lungs are inflamed and produce too much mucus, which narrows the airways and makes it difficult to breathe.
Acupuncture Makes It Easier to Breathe
COPD is a progressive disease, which means that even with treatment, this disease will worsen over time. Medications like bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, oral steroids and combination inhalers may be able to help. The good news is that holistic treatments like acupuncture may also be able to make a difference. Below, our acupuncturist Dr. Lok shares three things every patient needs to know about COPD and acupuncture treatment benefits.
Acupuncture may be able to reduce shortness of breath.
According to a 2012 Japanese study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, individuals who receive acupuncture treatment in conjunction with COPD medication are able to tolerate more exercise than individuals who only are on medication. In the study, half the participants received real acupuncture treatment while the other half received a sham treatment. The real acupuncture treatment is correlated with an increased ability to exercise.
Acupuncture may help dilate the air passages in the lungs.
While it is not fully understood how acupuncture improves breathing, research suggests that acupuncture treatments may help to relax muscles involved in breathing. Acupuncture has been shown to release chemicals that dilate the airways, making it easier to breathe.
Acupuncture is part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
For individuals who struggle to control their COPD despite medications, the potential upside from acupuncture treatments is very high: improved quality of life.
Have you tried acupuncture to alleviate breathing difficulties? Share your experience in the comments section below.