Cough

Health Issues/Symptoms Connections

"Cough" Issue / Symptom Connections

Below you will find various relationships to, and potential clinical treatment approaches for cough.

It is critical to appreciate that in Chinese Medicine, treatment for "cough" is rarely focused on the symptoms exclusively. Alternatively, a practitioner is looking at the factors that led to the development of "cough" - i.e. the "cause(s)".

For non-practitioners, we recommend reading treating the "cause" and not the "symptoms" for more on the overall approach and the importance of the TCM diagnostic system in formulating treatment approaches.

Within TCM, "cough" is potentially related to one or more of the following diagnostic patterns: lung dampness - phlegm cold, lung dampness - phlegm heat, lung dryness, lung qi deficiency, lung wind invasion - wind cold, lung wind invasion - wind heat, and/or lung yin deficiency.

The above patterns are common examples. In clinical situations, however, there are any number of other possibilities. Many times there will be a layered combination of patterns in an interwoven blend with their symptoms - some being the cause of an issue and the result of another issue. While initially complex, this is illustrative of the the web of relationships that Chinese Medicine is designed to approach.

Related Acupuncture Protocols

When developing an acupuncture protocol a practitioner is very often focusing on the causal diagnoses in Chinese Medicine terms, not on the condition itself. To illustrate and guide developing an acupuncture treatment for someone experiencing cough, this issue is referenced in the following acupuncture protocol section:

Some acupuncture points are considered "empirically" related to a specific condition or diagnostic pattern. While this would rarely, if ever, dictate the entire composition of a treatment, the following points should be considered, possibly even more so within the context of acupressure:

  • View EX Huatuojiaji at C5 (Sides of Spine at C5)

        .5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous processes of C5

        C5 innervates the areas of the larynx and pharynx, area is used for cough, tonsilitis, asthma, neck pain, snoring (often with C3 huatuo), vocal issues (loss of voice, etc.). Used extensively within the Tam Healing System and Tong Ren Ther…
  • View EX Huatuojiaji at T3 (Sides of Spine at T3)

        .5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous processes of T3

        T3 innervates the lung and lymph systems and is used for a range of immune issues (with T1 and T2), including symptoms such as allergies, asthma, chest pain, cough, voice issues, lyme disease, and frequent infections.  T1, T2 and T3 are us…
  • View KD 4 (Large Goblet)

        Posterior and inferior to the medial malleolus in a depression anterior to the medial attachment of the achilles tendon.

        Luo Connecting Point - can be used to treat the LI (opposite the chinese clock). Important point for somnolence, fright/fear, palpitations, reluctance to interact with others. Cough, asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath, painful/sore th…
  • View KD 20 (Open Valley)

        5 cun above CV 8, .5 cun lateral to CV 13.

        Local point for abdominal and digestive issues. Mania, epilepsy, palpitations, mouth/tongue deviation/swelling - largely through resolving phlegm. Chest pain, coughing, wheezing.
  • View KD 22 (Corridor Walk)

        In the 5th ICS 2 cun lateral to CV 16.

        Local Point, generally useful for cough, chest tension, constricted breathing
  • View KD 23 (Spirit Seal)

        In the 4th ICS 2 cun lateral to CV 17.

        Local Point, generally useful for cough, chest tension, constricted breathing. Vomiting - harmonizes stomach.
  • View KD 24 (Spirit Ruins)

        In the 3rd ICS 2 cun lateral to CV 18.

        Local Point, generally useful for cough, chest tension, constricted breathing. Breast distention - moves qi stagnation in the chest. Palpitations, abdominal bloating, panic attacks arising from digestive issues.
  • View KD 25 (Spirit Storehouse)

        In the 2nd ICS 2 cun lateral to CV 19.

        Local Point, generally useful for cough, chest tension, constricted breathing. Vomiting, reflux, digestive issues - harmonize stomach.
  • View KD 26 (Lively Center)

        In the 1st ICS 2 cun lateral to CV 20.

        Local Point, generally useful for cough, chest tension, constricted breathing - useful for phlegm stagnation. Digestive issues, nausea, vomiting - harmonizes stomach. Steaming Bone Disorder.
  • View KD 27 (Shu Mansion)

        In a depression on the lower border of the clavicle, 2 cun lateral to the CV line.

        Opens & relaxes the chest - asthma, constricted breathing, cough, chest tightness. Tonify KD Deficiency leading to adrenal exhaustion - fatique, lowered immunity. Local point for neck a/or jaw issues - pain, tension
  • View LI 13 (Arm Five Li)

        3 cun above LI 11 on the LI 15 to LI 11 line.

        Local point for pain in the elbow and upper arm. Difficulty breathing, cough, vomiting of blood. Scrofula  
  • View LI 16 (Great Bone)

        In the upper aspect of the shoulder between the acromial extremity of the clavicle and the spine of the scapula.

        Adjunctive point with LI 15 for shoulder issues, particularly chronic issues related to blood stasis. Resolve Blood stagnation in the chest & lungs, vomiting a/or coughing of Blood.  
  • View LU 1 (Central Treasury)

        6 cun lateral to the anterior midline, level with the 1st ICS.

        Lung Front MU Point - useful for all LU Issues, especially of Excess Type - cough, wheezing, asthma. LU disharmonies involving Phlegm/Heat excess arising from the middle warmer - vomiting, difficult ingestion.  
  • View LU 2 (Cloud Gate)

        6 cun lateral to the anterior midline, below the clavicle in a depression medial to the coracoid process.

        Similar to LU 1 but used more often as a local shoulder point. Cough, asthma, tension in the chest.
  • View LU 4 (Guarding White)

        1 cun below LU 3 on the radial side of the biceps brachii muscle, on the LU 3 to LU 5 line.

        Local Point. May be used for cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, heart pain. Pain in the medial aspect of the upper arm.
  • View LU 6 (Collection Hole)

        7 cun above LU 9 on the line joining LU 5 and LU 9.

        Xi Cleft Point - for Acute attacks of OPI's, usually wind-heat or wind-dry - cough, wheezing, asthma, sore throat. Dry hacking cough, especially at night. Local point for pain along the meridian, especially at the joints.
  • View LU 9 (Great Abyss)

        At the wrist crease on the radial side of the radial artery.

        Tonify LU Qi and Yin - cough, asthma, wheezing, SOB, chronic runny nose w/watery discharge. Palpitations. Wrist pain, arm pain along meridian. Hui Meeting Point of the Vessls - circulation issues, clarifying an indescernible pulse (for …
  • View PC 1 (Celestial Pool)

        1 cun lateral to the nipple in the 4th ICS.

        Window of the Sky Point, opens the chest - fullness, counterflow qi, cough with phlegm. Headache, blurred vision, axillary sweating, malarial disorders, difficulty moving the limbs. Breast disorders, breast abscess, insufficient lactatio…
  • View PC 2 (Celestial Spring)

        2 cun below the end of the anterior axillary fold between the two heads of the biceps brachii muscle.

        Opens the chest and invigorates the blood - cardiac pain / angina, cough, localized pain in the chest / shoulder area. Calms the spirit - palpitations.
  • View SI 15 (Central Shoulder Shu)

        2 cun lateral to the spinous process of C7 (GV 14).

        Asthma, cough, coughing up of blood (hemoptysis). Local point for shoulder, neck and/or upper back pain.  
  • View SI 17 (Celestial Countenance)

        Posterior to the angle of the mandible in a depression on the anterior border of the SCM.

        Both SI 16 & SI 17 are Window of the Sky Points and are useful for throat distention, swelling, goiters, lumps in neck a/or throat. Chest oppression, wheezing, cough, asthma. Ear issues - tinnitus, deafness. Tong Ren/Tam Healing Sys…
  • View SP 18 (Celestial Ravine)

        6 cun lateral to the anterior midline in the 4th inter-costal space.

        Descends qi - chest oppression, shortness of breath, cough, hiccup, running piglet disorder. Opens the chest and circulation in the breasts - breast pain, insufficient lactation.
  • View SP 19 (Chest Village)

        6 cun lateral to the anterior midline in the 3rd inter-costal space.

        Aids the descent of lung qi - cough. Regulate lung qi - shortness of breath, chest oppression.
  • View SP 20 (All-Round Flourishing)

        6 cun lateral to the anterior midline in the 2nd inter-costal space.

        Aids the descent of lung qi - cough, shortness of breath, chest oppression. Noted for difficulty in ingesting foods.
  • View SP 21 (Great Embracement)

        On lateral side of the chest and on the mid-axillary line in the 6th inter-costal space. (or) 6 cun below the axilla mi…

        Mentioned classically that when this point is deficient, all the joints are flaccid, and when excess, pain all over the body. Pain of the thoracic region. Descends lung qi - cough, chest oppression, shortness of breath.
  • View ST 9 (Man's Prognosis)

        Level with the tip of the Adam's Apple on the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoideus muscle (where the pulse of …

        In ancient times the ST Qi was assessed by palpating the pulse here and at ST 42. Regulation of Blood Pressure - lowering high blood pressure. Headache, dizziness. Sore throat, counterflow qi (vomiting), coughing, hiccups. Acute lumbar…
  • View ST 12 (Empty Basin)

        In the midpoint of the supraclavicular fossa, 4 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

        Shoulder pain (esp. that radiates to neck). Neck/throat issues - tightness/pain. Cough, counterflow qi, sore, swollen throat (rebellious lung qi). Internal branch of the ST meridian connects here directly from the Stomach, Spleen & …
  • View ST 14 (Storeroom)

        4 cun lateral to the AML in the 1st ICS.

        Cough. Sensation of tightness a/or fullness in the chest.
  • View ST 16 (Breast Window)

        4 cun lateral to the AML in the 3rd ICS.

        Chest tightness a/or pain, asthma, cough. Breast pain, abscess, mastitis. Swelling of the lips (with LV 3).
  • View ST 18 (Breast Root)

        4 cun lateral to the AML in the 5th ICS.

        Any issues with the breasts - mastitis, pain/swelling, insufficient lactation. Chest tightness/oppression, asthma, cough.
  • View ST 40 (Beautiful Bulge)

        8 cun below ST 35, one finger width lateral to ST 38, two finger widths lateral to the anterior border of the tibia.

        Empirical point to resolve phlegm in the body anywhere from any origin. Phlegm in the head - headaches, dizziness / vertigo, depression, poor concentration, stronger shen disturbances - mania. Phlegm in the body - chest oppression, breat…
  • View UB 11 (Great Shuttle)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV 13, level with T1.

        Wind disorders. Hui-meeting point of the bones, useful with any bone or problem such as osteoporosis, arthritis, inflammation, sensation of heat in the bones, etc. Useful adjunctive point to effect the lungs in cases of infections, colds…
  • View UB 12 (Wind Gate)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV line, level with T2.

        Main point to expel wind from the Wei Qi level of the body, useful for early stages of wind-cold conditions (Common cold, cough, fever, headache, stiff neck). Apply moxa here and on ST 36 to strengthen the Wei Qi (or the defensive layer o…
  • View UB 13 (Lung Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV 12, level with T3.

        Main point for all Lung related issues from a TCM perspective - tonifies LU Qi and Yin: cough, asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, weakness of the voice, consumption, steaming bone disorder, etc. Useful…
  • View UB 14 (Jue Yin Shu (Pericardium Shu))

        1.5 cun lateral to the GV line, level with T4.

        For all heart conditions: palpitations, anxiety, stress, etc. Combine with PC 6 to open the chest (as in the case of plum pit qi).  This chest pain can be psycho-emotional (i.e. liver/heart system related in Chinese Medicine terms), or it …
  • View UB 42 (Po Door)

        3 cun lateral to GV 12 and UB 13, level with T3, on the spinal border of the scapula.

        Reinforce the Lung Shu (UB 13) for Lung related disorders: cough, asthma, etc. Drain heat from the Lung - cough with heat, tuberculosis. Local point for shoulder and upper back pain and restriction.

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