As the weather becomes warmer and allergens become more plentiful, asthma symptoms and attacks will undoubtedly increase. Asthma is a chronic condition that negatively impacts one’s ability to breathe. In the U.S., the incidence of asthma has grown over the decades, especially among children. Asthma episodes are a distressing health concern and are linked to immune dysregulation. It also accounted for more than 3500 deaths in 2019 alone.
Asthma can occur for various reasons, including medication, environmental factors, leaky gut, food additives, and genetically modifies foods, to name a few. Functional medicine, which addresses the fundamental root cause of a condition rather than the symptoms, can help patients navigate their way through a diagnosis, minimize the severity of symptoms and attacks, and potentially stop them altogether.
How Does Functional Medicine Address Asthma?
It has long been established that asthma is from an inflammatory response in the lungs. The immune system controls inflammation and 70% of the immune systems is in the gut. Therefore, problems with the gut, such as unhealthy bacteria and poor nutritional absorption, and food sensitivities such as dairy and gluten can result in asthma-like symptoms. These symptoms may include difficulty breathing, swelling and inflammation, coughing, and wheezing. Functional medicine can support in eliminating these symptoms, thereby minimizing asthma exacerbations, as well as provide the following benefits:
- Rebalance the gut: quiets the immune system lowering inflammation and improving nutrition absorptions that will strengthen the immune system.
- Identify and eliminate food sensitivities: pinpoints food triggers that leave the body more susceptible to inflammation and symptoms.
- Determine and eliminate environmental allergens: identifying triggers within the environment, such as cleaners, pollen, mold, etc. creates an awareness of what to avoid minimizing asthma exacerbations.
- Reinforce the immune system: Proper nutrition is critical in maintaining optimum health; functional medicine will identify low vitamin and mineral levels and ensure adequate supplementation to fortify the immune system.
Asthma and Acupuncture: What you need to know
Complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture has become more common over the years for treating medical conditions, including asthma.
The Pain Medicine Journal observed that treated acupoints may release or sustain specific changes that accommodate organ function that maintain physiological homeostasis, or impact disease related symptoms (Li et al., 2015)
The benefits of treating asthma with acupuncture have been documented through several clinical studies. If you are considering acupuncture to treat your asthma, here are four benefits you should be aware of:
- Activation of Self-Healing Mechanisms: Acupuncture has been observed to “switch on” self-healing mechanisms, sending energy via natural pathways in the body to support the respiratory system.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: Improved quality of life was observed in those diagnosed with asthma who received acupuncture compared with patients who received only routine care (Brinkhaus et al., 2017)
- Reduce Allergic Mediators: Acupuncture has been observed to influence physiological process found in asthma by reducing specific inflammation mediators that cause asthma symptoms (Joo S; Schott C; Zou H; Daniel V; Martin E., 2000).
- Safe: Unlike prescription medications used to threat asthma, steroids, antihistamines, etc., there are very few safety issues or side effects to be concerned about. However, if you are interested in acupuncture, it is always recommended to have a conversation with your licensed healthcare provider to ensure it is an appropriate treatment for you.
If you have been diagnosed with asthma and would like to explore acupuncture as a complementary treatment to improve your symptoms, we can help. Dr. Fors has successfully treated asthma patients with acupuncture.
Our practice specializes in treating asthma and associated underlying conditions. Dr. Fors has successfully treated asthma patients and patients experiencing wheezing, breathing through the mouth, frequent respiratory infections, and nighttime symptoms by creating a personalized Care Program. We are accepting new patients. Call the Pain and Brain Healing Center today to learn more, 763-862.7100.
Brinkhaus, B., Medicine, I. for S., Roll, S., Jena, S., Department for Medical Statistics and Informatics, Icke, K., Adam, D., Binting, S., Lotz, F., Willich, S. N., & Witt, C. M. (2017, April 1). Acupuncture in Patients with Allergic Asthma: A Randomized Pragmatic Trial. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2016.0357.
John Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Acupuncture. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/acupuncture.
Joos S; Schott C; Zou H; Daniel V; Martin E; (2000). Immunomodulatory effects of acupuncture in the treatment of allergic asthma: a randomized controlled study. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11152056/.
Li, F., He, T., Xu, Q., Lin, L.-T., Li, H., Liu, Y., Shi, G.-X., & Liu, C.-Z. (2015, October
12). What is the Acupoint? A preliminary review of Acupoints. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/16/10/1905/2460295.