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Home > Newsletters > May 2006 > Asthma and Chinese Medicine

Asthma and Chinese Medicine

Dr. Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D., O.M.D (China)

On August 8, 1995, China’s most popular singing star Den Lijun passed away in Thailand. She was only 42 years old at the time. It shocked everybody in China. How could such a beautiful and healthy looking star pass away so suddenly? Even more surprising was the cause - asthma!

In the United States, asthma is the most common chronic condition among children. It affects more than one child in twenty. An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from asthma. Every day, 5000 patients visit the emergency room and 14 people die due to complications of asthma in the United States.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the walls of the airways, the bronchial tubes, become inflamed. The swelling of the bronchial tubes and/or the excessive mucus secreted from the walls cause the tubes to narrow, which partially blocks the airway. Allergies, chronic bronchiole infection and hyperirritability of the airway tubes are the most common causes of asthma.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been treating asthma for thousands of years. In 1979, the World Health Organization listed forty diseases that can benefit from acupuncture. Respiratory tract diseases, including asthma and bronchitis, were included on that list. There are many studies relating to the success of acupuncture and Chinese herbs for the treatment of asthma in last twenty years. For example, in 1993, the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of Vienna, Austria, reported a study that concluded that after ten weeks of acupuncture treatment, over 70% of long-standing asthma patients achieved significant improvement.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may help:

  • improve and balance the immune system
  • reduce allergic reaction
  • reduce bronchial inflammation
  • adjust the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system in order to expand the walls of the airways
  • reduce and withdraw mucus and phlegm
  •  increase the capacity of the lungs

In most of the cases, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective. After a series of treatments, asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath are reduced. The frequency of an asthmatic episode can also be minimized. In fact, many people can usually resume an active lifestyle.

The symptoms of asthma can vary. Some people may have only slight chest tightness or coughing and wheezing, while some may have even more serious symptoms such as, shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. It can be life threatening during a serious attack! The airways can become so constricted that not enough oxygen can get to your vital organs. Therefore, you should always keep a quick-relief inhaler with you at all times, even if your symptoms are under control. Please remember that asthma is about long-term management. Get check ups and treatments regularly. Contact your acupuncturist about an asthma treatment plan. You should always try to keep your environment under control. Prevent asthmatic triggers, such as household dust mites, pets, smoke, mold, pollens and high humidity. Prevent and treat common colds and respiratory viral infections in their early stages. Also, watch your diet and try to avoid dairy and sugar. It is also wise to manage your stress levels. Take action now. You could control asthma. Do not let asthma control you.


This Month's Articles

May 2006
Volume 4, Number 5

Asthma and Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture, Tai Chi and Stress Management

Dietary Guidelines for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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