ASTHMA AND CHINESE MEDICINE

I have recently experienced many patients who have been given an inhaler by their Western doctors for asthma. Two of which stand out, one is a man who is 78 years old and the other a women of 47. I will go on to explain their diagnosis and problems they have both experienced with their inhalers. Severe asthma is still by far the most common chronic debilitating disease in childhood and its mortality rate has not declined. I believe that the long-term use of bronchodilators is detrimental and has increased by 60% in the past ten years.

 

Asthma is a well-defined disease with very specific and characteristic ideology and pathology. In order to diagnosis it properly I must first identify the symptoms as they correspond to Chinese Medicine. There is both breathlessness and also allergic asthma. In the former there is a partial obstruction to the airways which causes a temporary narrowing of the bronchi by muscle spasm followed by mucosal swelling. The narrowed bronchi can no longer be effectively cleared of mucus. The allergic asthma is a brochiospasm caused by an allergic reaction due to immune hypersensitivity. Brochiospazm is only one allergic reaction along with chronic inflammation of the bronchial mucosa.

 

The main etiological factors of Wheezing and Breathlessness are external factors, diet, emotional problems, fatigue and chronic illness. Asthma can be caused by Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat but can also be from excess consumption of dairy foods, greasy foods and cold foods. Emotional stress such as worry, brooding and pensiveness can also create asthma. Phlegm is sometimes central to the pathology and obstructs the airways, which causes wheezing and also the Qi to ascend instead of descend along the airways obstructed by phlegm. I believe that a lot of asthma is a kind of chronic pathogenic Wind lodged in the bronchi leading to periodic attacks.

 

In Chinese Medicine the Lung-Qi can be obstructed and there can also be a Lung Deficiency and a Kidney-Deficiency. Lung-Qi obstructed corresponds to acute attacks of asthma in adults due to emotional stress and affects the Liver energy. Lung-Deficiency corresponds to chronic asthma attacks and Kidney-Deficiency corresponds to asthma or emphysema in older people. Phlegm fluid is a chronic condition, which develops over many years. An invasion of external Wind can trigger an acute attack of asthma with allergic and sensitive patients. Of course the treatment in all these varies but if the Lung and Kidney organs are deficient they must be built up in order to get rid of the asthma. This is done with both acupuncture and herbs.

 

My patient who is 78 years old came in to see me over three years ago and had some trouble breathing. At the time his Western doctor gave him an inhaler and told him to use it three times a day. He did not experience asthma attacks per say and I advised him that using an inhaler that often can compromise his Lungs and lead to Lung-deficiency as well as Kidney-deficiency. Because of his age, his organs were not operating to their full capacity so it was important to build him up. Recently after three years of using this inhaler according to his Doctor’s prescription he now has a compromised Lung capacity. If you can just use your inhaler for emergencies, you will not end up having a Lung that is so compromised. I am very unhappy with how these inhalers are used and hope that people begin to question their real value and overuse. This patient is now in rehab trying to strengthen his Lungs.

 

The other patient is 47 years old and has had some asthma and was also told by her Doctor to use the inhaler frequently and not only when needed. Luckily, she is my patient and I have asked her to stop using it unless she absolutely needs it. Her use has gone form everyday to only occasional use due to her diet, acupuncture and herbs. I have begun to build up her Lung-Qi and her Kidney-Qi and she has changed within one month of treatment. Not only has she become much healthier but also her stress levels have gone down since she started acupuncture. I have her on a Kidney formula as well as a Lung formula and they have worked wonders for her.

 

I know that asthma is a serious illness, however, I want to make sure that people realize that asthma does not have to be forever and that Chinese Medicine has had incredible results. Please be careful with your use of the Western inhaler and how it is prescribed. Do not overuse it and question its repercussions on your physical body. It can be very strong and extremely dangerous on many levels. Please feel free to call me and come in for a free fifteen minute consult if you have any more questions.

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