Unlike cardiovascular health, the health of our lungs isn’t commonly discussed in relation to our general health. From a Chinese medical viewpoint, lung health is vital.
In addition to lung cancer, there are a host of respiratory diseases that can cause problems. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD has jumped up the list of lung issues causing airflow blockage and breathing related problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control, COPD was the fourth leading cause of death in 2018 with almost 15.7 million Americans being diagnosed.
Acupuncture is an effective and natural way to boost your lung health. It approaches each patient individually and may include nutritional changes and herbs to help ease and correct respiratory conditions.
Acupuncture, or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that the body is full of energy called Qi and when Qi is out of balance, a whole host of health issues can occur. Acupuncture helps to regulate this flow of energy throughout the body to achieve balance. As research shows, it can positively impact lung health. A 2012 study published by the National Health Research Institute shows that acupuncture can improve breathing ability in COPD patients. According to the study, patients received daily acupuncture treatments for 12 weeks using the same acupuncture points on each patient. The study found that patients receiving regular acupuncture treatments show significantly better scores rating their ability to breath.
A few commonly used acupuncture points for respiratory wellness are: Kidney 27 located bilaterally on the chest, just below the collarbone. This point is used to open the lungs, encourage full breathing and to reduce coughing. Lung 5 can be found at the end of the crease in the elbow, just outside of the tendon. This point opens the airways and the throat while also reducing coughing and wheezing. Ren 17 is in the middle of the chest, right between both nipples. This point opens the chest, loosens congestion, stops coughing and encourages full breathing.
Our entire bodies function more optimally when we nourish it properly through food and herbal medicine. There are foods that can help to open the lungs and increase circulation. Garlic and onions are anti-inflammatory and help to fight off infections. Chili peppers open the nasal passages, stimulate the mucus membranes and fight off bacteria. Examples of key herbs for lung health: astragalus, cordyceps, Ophiopogon, Ashwagandha, and Eleuthero coccus.
If you suffer from a respiratory illness like COPD, emphysema, a chronic cough or just want to make sure your lungs are functioning as best as possible, talk to your acupuncturist about your treatment options.