Asthma viewed through the Chinese Lens
In Chinese, asthma is described as “xiao-chuan“, which translates as wheezing (xiao) and breathlessness (chuan). According to Traditional Chinese Medical theory, an asthma attack reflects the stirring up of excess Wind.
Just as in nature, Wind is inherently changeable and can appear in gusts or breezes; in asthma, for example, it manifests in coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and changeable body temperature. This excess Wind has such a strong effect because it is paired with an underlying deficiency of the Lung and Kidney qi or energies. Among other functions, the Lung and Kidney qi work in tandem to protect the body from Wind, which is also a harbinger of colds, flus, and other upper respiratory ailments. According to Chinese medical theory, when the Lungs are working properly, their energy descends and disperses. The descending breath is then grasped by the Kidneys, and the person is able to inhale and exhale with ease. In the case of asthma, the weakened Lung qi does not properly descend or disperse, and the Kidneys are too compromised to grasp the Lung qi. Breathing becomes difficult, and coughing and wheezing ensue.
How does Chinese Medicine Treat Asthma?
Chinese medicine can treat asthma very effectively. Treatment consists of the application of very thin needles into points along specific channels along the body that relate to the person’s condition. An herbal formula is usually also prescribed. If warranted, dietary and lifestyle counseling is given as well, in order to fully support the client’s healing process. Initially, treatment focuses on clearing out the pathogenic Wind in order to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. After the asthma is more under control, further treatment addresses the underlying deficiencies of the Lung and Kidney energies as well as other factors that may be involved. As the body becomes stronger, Wind is less likely to invade, and asthmatic symptoms subside.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to know how acupuncture and Chinese medicine might be helpful for you.