Can Acupuncture Help Bronchitis?

Acupuncture is a healing system that has been practised for thousands of years in the East and these days it continues to increase in popularity in the Western World. If you know nothing about acupuncture it may seem odd that sticking needles in a person could alleviate various health conditions, including bronchitis.

My First Experience Of Acupuncture

When I first experienced acupuncture I didn’t know much about the underlying theory as to why it should work, all I knew is that some of my friends had enjoyed its benefits.

My first experience of it was for horrible back pain that didn’t allow me to sleep and one session of acupuncture did the job. After this I knew it worked but was curious to find out how.

Why Acupuncture Works – The Two Schools Of Thought

There are actually two predominant schools of thought as to why acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture, which is based on the ancient healing system that has its roots in the east, believes that the needles are being inserted into points which relate to various parts of the body that lie upon meridians.

This system believes that qi (energy) travels along these 12 meridians (channels) and if it is out of balance, disease can occur. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners will diagnose a patient with a range of diagnostic tools and often use acupuncture to begin treatment, and support the treatment program with herbs.

The other school of thought is medical acupuncture. Those who practise according to this system believe that the needles stimulate the patient’s central nervous system. The nervous system will then produce hormones and chemicals.

Some Believe It Can Help Bronchitis

Regardless of whether you believe in either of these systems, or whether you would prefer to "see before you would believe" or feel, in this instance, there are those who feel that acupuncture can help alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis. In fact not only that but it could help prevent future attacks and improve overall lung function.

What Is Bronchitis?

The main airways of the lungs are called bronchi. An infection that causes them to be inflamed and irritated is what we call bronchitis, with the main symptom being a hacking cough. In some cases the cough is accompanies by a mucus of a kind of yellowish grey colour.

The TCM Perspective About Bronchitis

Those practising TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) believe that bronchitis is either caused by internal or external pathogenic factors.

External pathogenic factors are seasonal pathogens and internal are internal organ disorders. Generally it is the case that acute bronchitis is caused by external factors and chronic bronchitis is caused by internal factors.

Treating Bronchitis With Acupuncture

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK states on its website that most cases of bronchitis can be managed at home and that there is no cure for chronic bronchitis.

Acupuncture will help to strengthen the immune system and put the patient’s entire health system back into balance. Lung function will be strengthened. After the agreed amount of acupuncture treatments, these main elements become more balanced and stronger. This means that there is a higher chance of preventing future attacks.

Acupuncture treatments will also reduce the inflammation of secretions, lessens congestion and decreases reactivity to physical or chemical factors which are irritants.

The course of treatments will be decided after diagnosis by a qualified practitioner and can vary per person, due to symptoms, physiology and other factors. Generally acute bronchitis requires a few sessions whilst chronic bronchitis may require a course of between ten to fifteen sessions.