Acupuncture and Respiratory Problems
Respiratory problems are exhausting. Most people experience respiratory problems minimally through the common cold or seasonal allergies. However, there are many people who suffer from chronic respiratory problems on a daily basis. This can include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a collection of lung disorders that can cause immense fatigue, chest tightening and reduced blood oxygen levels.
Respiratory problems cause flare-ups in the body that can restrict a person’s airflow and breathing quality. People who suffer from disorders like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and in some cases chronic asthma, need to address the root cause before it can have detrimental health effects.
Basic conditions of respiratory problems include:
- The regular occurrence of the common cold and flu (due to a weakened immune system)
- Allergies / Allergic Rhinitis
- Hay fever
- Recurrent sore throat
- Post nasal drip
What do all of these conditions and symptoms have in common? The basis of all of these modern diseases is inflammation. When inflammation takes place in the mucous membrane or the sinus for instance, the nasal passages get blocked resulting in symptoms of allergies.
Similarly, with asthma, the airways are subject to inflammation from tightened muscles that restrict air flow because they have become swollen.
A person suffering from respiratory conditions will likely find that they have trouble breathing, an increased body temperature, headaches, allergy symptoms (such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, nose and throat) and the associated fatigue that comes with the body’s inability to handle the excessive inflammation.
Acupuncture’s Role in Respiratory Health
Western medication only suppresses respiratory symptoms for a short period of time and it works less over time with continual and repeated use. Acupuncture works with the complex mechanisms of the body to reduce the swelling and inflammation which cause the recurrent respiratory symptoms.
Proven trials and published literature have proven that acupuncture has an impact on the hormonal activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
How it works: It is suggested thatthe increased secretion of ACTH – a hormone produced as a response to biological stress –and corticosteroids created by the response to acupuncture, lead to the reduced swelling of the nasal mucosa in the course of a cold.
Acupuncture also has an impact on allergic reactions as it has an antihistamine effect on the body.
How it works: It is said this takes place by reducing the signaling of TRPV1 receptor – a gene that is concerned with the detection and regulation of our body temperature, along with the sensation of heat or pain –which leads to a reduction of pruritus, or the severe itching of the skin and the allergic response as a whole.
Acupuncture also has an impact on releasing the norepinephrine created by the sympathetic nervous system.
How it works: By working at the white bloodcell level, β2–adrenergic receptor agonists modulate the human airway to smooth muscle cell migration. This reduces inflammation and swelling in the airways.
Acupuncture has a significant effect on balancing the TH1 / TH2 balance that is connected to how our body fights infection – from the detection of abnormal cells and microorganisms to the production of antibodies to neutralize them.
How it works: Acupuncture reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines – or the process of secretions, which can cause inflammatory responses common in many respiratory problems.
It’s clear that respiratory problems are complex and work at various levels of the body. However, acupuncture can effectively stimulate these systems to return a natural sense of order. It can also help to effectively manage or reduce respiratory symptoms – giving you a better quality of life!
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