Acupuncture Provides Cost-Effective Relief For Asthma Patients

Any kind of ailment can be costly to treat, and asthma is no exception. Inhalers are increasing in price, and consumers are looking for more cost-effective methods of dealing with such respiratory disorders. Asthma affects more than 15 million people in the United States, and the strain of living with asthma has been compounded by inflated average wholesale prices.

Acupuncture, a 5,000-year-old Chinese medical practice, is proving to be one way for some asthma patients to manage their symptoms without over-paying. In a study conducted by the University Hospital of Vienna, over 70 percent of patients with long-standing asthma reported a significant improvement in their symptoms after 10 weeks of acupuncture treatment.

Bronchospasms associated with asthma result from over-stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Stimulation of acupuncture points can relieve both physical and emotional stress because they trigger the release of endorphins in the brain. Asthma sufferers can therefore experience both a physical release from bronchial constriction, and also an emotional or psychological release from the fear of constriction and suffocation.

Acupuncture is also more cost-effective than many Western drug therapies. In 1990, costs related to asthma were estimated at $6.2 billion. According to the American Lung Association, the average cost for one hospital stay for a child with asthma is $4,000. Acupuncture, by contrast, costs an average of $85 per session and can eliminate the need for emergency hospital visits and Western drugs. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of the nation’s insurers covered acupuncture treatments in 1996, making it an even more viable option for those with asthma.

Another note from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in their article related to Asthma they said that “In traditional Chinese medicine, asthma is considered not just a disorder of the lungs but also of the kidneys and the stomach. This explains why the acupoints that correspond to the treatment of asthma are located along the lung, kidney, and stomach meridians. Acupoints along the bladder meridian are also treated since bladder function is also considered important for the overall health of the body’s organs. Once the energy blockages in these areas are corrected, optimum health is hopefully achieved.

Acupuncture is widely used as a preventative medicine technique, and as such, is most effective when used to treat initial attacks or mild bouts of asthma. The disease is one of 40 considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) that may benefit from acupuncture. One study conducted by the University of Vienna Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care showed that at least 70% of the patients suffering from asthma reported improvement after undergoing regular acupuncture treatment for a span of 10 weeks.
Another study, conducted in Kaifeng City’s Department of Acupuncture in the Second Municipal People’s Hospital in Henan, China, involved 192 patients with bronchial asthma. All patients were treated with acupuncture and results showed significant improvement in over 75% of patients. Clinical remission also reduced and the majority of patients reported immediate relief post-treatment. The study also showed that efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of asthma was related to the needle retention duration, the length of time the needle stayed inserted. Long-term curative effects were also observed to be better with patients who experienced immediate positive results after treatments.”
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