A study out of Japan looked at the effects of acupuncture for patients with dyspnea (shortness of breath) for at least 5 years. There were 2 groups of 30 hospitalized patients, 15 in the acupuncture group and 15 in the control group. The acupuncture group received acupuncture treatments once a week for 10 weeks plus standard care medications. The control group received standard medications. The acupuncture group received the same acupuncture protocol – i.e. everyone received the same exact treatment each week. (In my opinion this is one of the problems with many acupuncture studies. One disease can offer many different acupuncture treatments that are customized to each individual. I feel customized acupuncture treatments offer more effective clinical outcomes.)
After just a few weeks of acupuncture treatment there was noticeable improvement in the acupuncture group. After 10 weeks there were significant improvements in exercise capacity, respiratory function and respiratory muscle strength that were far more significant than could be attributed to a placebo effect. One of the most telling metrics was the increase in oxygen capacity in the acupuncture group over the control group. That alone is a statement of acupuncture’s effectiveness for many lung conditions.
A couple of years ago I treated a woman who was told she had COPD. My office was up one flight of stairs and on the first appointment she could hardly get up the stairs. After one treatment she told me that she noticed she was breathing much better. After the third treatment she ran up the stairs for her appointment and realized what a huge difference only 3 treatments made. She responded better than the majority of folks with COPD, however it was a true testimonial to the effectiveness of acupuncture for visceral diseases.
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist