In a person with asthma, the inside walls of the airways, known as bronchial tubes, become swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases their susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
Asthma can cause episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness due to airway constriction, inflammation and hyper-reactivity.
The TCM understanding of the mechanisms behind asthma can be complex but at the root of most asthma cases, the sufferer usually has some kind of underlying deficiency or weakness. Sporadically (or perhaps frequently depending on the severity of the asthma), this deficiency leaves the Lungs open to attack either from internally generated influences or influences invading from the exterior. These attacks produce the symptoms of an asthma episode.
Theoretically, active asthma is treated differently to remission stage asthma. During an active phase, attacks are more frequent and treatment focuses more heavily on providing symptomatic relief. During a non-active phase, attacks are infrequent and treatment focuses most heavily on the root cause of the asthma – the internal weakness that is allowing the attacks to occur.
In reality the line between active and non-active asthma is not so clearly defined and treatment most commonly blends symptomatic relief with prevention to varying degrees.
Asthma cannot be cured but steps can be taken to control it – the aim being to be able to lead a normal, symptom-free life. In most cases, acupuncture and can be very effective. After a course of treatments, the severity of asthmatic symptoms are reduced; and the frequency of asthmatic episodes are lessened.
Unless your case is very severe, TCM treatment for asthma is not usually ongoing and a period of treatment generally has sustained effects. Future “top-ups” are often necessary and the frequency and duration of those future treatment courses will depend on the triggers and severity of your asthma.
Allow yourself six to eight acupuncture treatments weekly to get the best results. After each treatment you should feel a sense of calm or balance as the treatment starts to work.