Acute bronchitis is the inflammation of the lung’s air passages, which tends to occur shortly after contracting a respiratory infection. Your symptoms may initially affect your throat, nose, and sinuses, then spread into your lungs causing chest pain, a productive cough, fatigue, fever, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Individuals who are most at risk for developing bronchitis include the elderly, young children and infants, smokers, and people who have lung or heart disease. Traditional medical treatment for bronchitis may include rest, fluids, steam therapy, and a possible prescription for coughing or wheezing. Acupuncture therapy may provide a safe, natural, and effective adjunct to your bronchitis treatment.
Acupuncture, developed in China more than 2,500 years ago, is a form of healing that involves inserting tiny needles at various acupuncture points throughout the body to improve health, treat illness, balance the body and prevent disease. Acupuncturists stimulate acupuncture points with the intent to activate your body’s qi – life force energy – and signal your brain to release hormones and chemicals that reduce pain and improve your health. Although acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, this alternative treatment therapy has only become popular in the West since its introduction in the United States in the 1970s.
Acupuncture Treatment for Acute Bronchitis, Acupuncture therapy may help reduce your bronchitis symptoms. According to a study published in the September 2007 issue of “Zhongguo Zhen Jiu,” a Chinese medical journal, researchers observed the short and long-term effects of acupuncture treatment in 200 cases of bronchitis. Patients with bronchitis received acupuncture treatment during the three hottest periods of the year, which is the most common time for acute bronchitis attacks. In comparison with 100 patients who only made lifestyle changes, the acupuncture group experienced better short and long-term improvements in their bronchitis symptoms.
When you visit your acupuncturist for the first time she may ask you a number of questions about your current complaint, symptoms, medical and family history and lifestyle. She will look at your tongue and feel your pulse in order to develop a Chinese medical diagnosis. You will lie comfortably as your acupuncturist inserts tiny acupuncture needles at various points on your body, including your arms, legs, hands, feet and chest area. She may utilize additional treatment techniques such as Chinese massage, gua sha or cupping therapy. You will relax with the acupuncture needles inserted for approximately 20 to 60 minutes, during which time you may fall asleep.
Consult with your doctor prior to using acupuncture for acute bronchitis. Although acupuncture is generally considered safe and rarely causes negative side effects, you may experience bruising, discomfort at the site of the needle, bleeding, or infection, especially if your acupuncturist is not well-trained. Avoid using acupuncture as a replacement for conventional medical treatment when necessary. Ask your doctor or local health department for a reputable referral for a licensed acupuncturist in your area.
1 – U.S. National Library of Medicine; Bronchitis
2 – Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc.; Acupuncture: An Alternative and Complementary Medicine Resource Guide
3 – “Zhongguo Zhen Jiu”; Observation on the Therapeutic Effect of Acupoint Sticking Therapy for Prevention of Acute Attack of Chronic Bronchitis ; Gao, F. et. al.; September 2007
4 – National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Acupuncture: An Introduction