COPD: Can Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture may hold promise for COPD sufferers
acupuncture needles

Acupuncture, a technique used in Eastern Medicine, may hold promise to COPD sufferers as shown in the data from a recent clinical trial, published in the May edition of Archives of Internal Medicine. 

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According to the American Lung Association, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States.  COPD is the name given to a group of diseases adversely affecting your ability to breathe, with the two most prevalent COPD diseases being chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  In this family of disease, possible symptoms include shortness of breath (dyspnea), cough, wheezing and fatigue.

In this latest acupuncture study, 68 COPD patients receiving standard medication, were randomly assigned to either traditional acupuncture (small hair-thin needles were placed into specific points on the body) or placebo acupuncture (blunt “fake” needles were used that never punctured the skin).  Treatment lasted a total of 12 weeks.

After the 12-week course of treatment, results for the acupuncture group showed the following:

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– Improved breathing, lessoned symptoms of dyspnea.
– Improved exercise tolerance.

Patients who suffer from COPD understand there is no cure for this disease. Once the disease is diagnosed, the focus is symptom management and improving quality of life.  Patients make lifestyle changes such as avoiding cigarette smoke and other air pollutants while physicians can further manage symptoms with medications like bronchodialators.

If you suffer from COPD and want to enhance your conventional treatment approach, speak to your physician and consider adjunct treatment options like acupuncture, which may offer further relief of symptoms.

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