Acupuncture for Asthma - Treatment Protocols

General Approaches

Acupuncture For Asthma - Treatment Protocols

Acupuncture treatment protocols are generally directed towards the deeper root of a persons set of health issues, not at each individual issue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, treatment is generally directed towards the individuals diagnostic pattern(s) and their primary issue is only a part of the information required to approach the correct patterns to treat (see "treating the cause vs. the symptoms" for an introduction to this process.).

In designing an acupuncture protocol for asthma, one might find one or a combination of the following patterns: kidney yang deficiency, liver fire, liver qi stagnation, lung dampness - phlegm cold, lung dampness - phlegm heat, lung qi deficiency among many other possibilities and possible combinations.

Below you will find some of the more common tcm diagnoses and acupuncture treatment protocols for asthma and related respiratory issues. There are many ways to approach the treatment of this condition within TCM. Our presentation describes foundational approaches that would need to be further tailored in most cases to be effective for a given individual.

  • Etiology & Pathology:
  • Differentiation:
    • Invasion of Wind coupled with heat or cold
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Similar to Common Cold, however, the pathogen enters deeper into the LU causing an acute asthma condition.
        • This condition, while an excess, usually arises from a deficiency which can be treated after the acute symptoms are resolved.
        • Patient may have: Chills, fever, headache, SOB, stuffiness in chest, thin white dilute sputum.
        • Tongue: Thin, white coating
        • Pulse: Floating, tight
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Eliminate Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat
        • Restore Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU
        • Soothe asthma
      • Treatment Points:
        • Points for Wind-Cold:
          • GV 14 - Eliminate Wind.
          • UB 12 - Wind disorders.
          • CV 22 - Descend LU Qi (cough), open chest (asthma).
          • LU 5 - Clear LU excess.
          • LU 9 - Clear LU excess.
          • LI 4 - Eliminate Wind.
        • Points for Wind-Heat:
          • UB 13 - LU Back Shu Point.
          • LU 7 - Release exterior, circulate LU Qi.
          • LI 4 - Release exterior.
          • LU 5 - Better when issues are in the chest, cool heat, descend LU Qi.
          • Dingchuan - Soothe asthma.
    • Phlegm-Damp or Phlegm-Heat
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Phlegm-Damp
          • Patient may have: Chills, cold limbs, stuffy chest, thicker white expectoration, grayish complexion, lack of thirst or thirst w/no desire to drink.
          • Tongue: White, greasy coating
          • Pulse: Tight or slippery
        • Phlegm-Heat
          • Patient may have: Coarse breathing, yellow sputum, stuffiness in chest, mental restlessness, red face, spontaneous sweating, dry mouth, thirst.
          • Tongue: Yellow, greasy coating
          • Pulse: Slippery, rapid
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Resolve Phlegm
        • Expel Dampness or Cool Heat
        • Soothe Asthma
      • Treatment Points:
    • LU Deficiency
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Patient may have: Short/quick breathing, spontaneous sweating, weak low voice, weak cough, difficult expectoration, poor appetite, bright white face.
        • Tongue: Pale, swollen
        • Pulse: Thin, empty
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Tonify LU
        • Soothe Asthma
      • Treatment Points:
    • KD Deficiency
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Patient may have: Breathlessness/worse w/exertion, difficult inhaling, asthma impoved with lying down, frequent urination, polyuria, edema, cold limbs, loose stools.
        • Tongue: Pale, swollen, wet
        • Pulse: Thin, deep, weak
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Tonify KD (esp. receiving function)
        • Soothe Asthma
      • Treatment Points:
    • LV Qi Stagnation
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Patient may have: Stress induced asthma, chest oppression, hypochondriac pain.
        • Tongue: Normal
        • Pulse: Wiry
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Resolve LV Qi Stagnation
      • Treatment Points:
    • LV Fire insulting the LU
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • This is a further progression of LV Qi Stagnation as described above, however, patient will present with heat signs.
        • Tongue: Red w/red sides, yellow coating
        • Pulse: Wiry, rapid
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Resolve LV Qi Stagnation
        • Cool LV Heat
      • Treatment Points:
    • LV Yin Deficiency
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • This pattern is more emotionally based than LV Qi or Fire - Sadness constraining the LV Qi.
        • Women who have overworked especially post-partum are susceptible.
        • Patient may have: Infrequent asthma attacks more often at night, dry throat/cough, blurred vision, dry eyes, hypogastrium/chest distention.
        • Tongue: Red w/no coating
        • Pulse: Floating, empty
      • Treatment Protocol:
        • Resolve LV Qi Stagnation
        • Nourish LV Yin
        • Restore Descending and Dispersing Function of the LU
      • Treatment Points:
        • LV 8 - Nourish LV Yin.
        • CV 4 - Nourish Yin of the body.
        • SP 6 and KD 3 - used together to nourish KD Yin (water is the mother of wood).
        • PC 6 and SP 4 - Master/Couple points of the Yin Wei Chong Mai, open chest & calm mind.

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were consulted within this section:

  • St. John, Meredith: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes
  • Valaskatgis, Peter: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes

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