Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases are conditions that affect the organs and tissues involved in respiration or breathing. The respiratory system is made up of: the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Respiratory conditions are usually either infectious or chronic. An infectious respiratory condition is most often either bacterial or viral, such as the common cold or flu. Chronic respiratory conditions are long lasting and can re-occur such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respiratory conditions can vary greatly in severity from mild symptoms to more serious conditions.

Sinus conditions

Sinus conditions are commonly seen in the acupuncture clinic. Many patients present with sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses or cavities within the passages of the nose. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic and is most often caused by infection, allergies, or chemical irritation of the sinuses. Symptoms of sinusitis include headache or sinus pressure, pain in the ears, fever, nasal congestion, cloudy or yellow nasal mucus, post-nasal drip, and sore throat. Sinusitis is conventionally treated with decongestants, nasal sprays, and in some cases even antibiotics.

How can acupuncture help sinus conditions?

Acupuncture is also a very effective treatment for sinus conditions. Acupuncture is based on the principles of “qi” or energy. When energy is stuck in the meridians or pathways of the body, pain, inflammation, and illness can occur. Acupuncture can help to unblock the meridians of the head, face, and nose which may be contributing to sinus congestion and inflammation. Through local and distal needling, acupuncture can help to relieve sinus pressure, headache, and nasal congestion. Local needling will help to unblock the sinus passages, while distal needling may treat the underlying cause of the inflammation and congestion. Acupuncture may also have a systemic effect on pain. Studies suggest that acupuncture has the ability to re-map the brain, helping to misfire and re-direct pain signals throughout the body.


Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes a narrowing and swelling of the airways along with extra mucus production, which causes a restriction of airflow. Asthma may make it difficult to breathe and may cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. Asthma can be a mild condition or may be life-threatening for some people. Asthma can be triggered by airborne pathogens such as pollen, dust, mold, or other known allergens. Respiratory infections such as the common cold or flu may also cause asthma symptoms to flare up. For some people, exercise and cold air can also exacerbate asthma. Asthma is usually controlled with the use of a rescue inhaler or in some cases an oral steroid may be prescribed by a doctor.

Acupuncture for treating asthma symptoms

In Chinese medicine, asthma symptoms may be caused by a few different factors including external pathogenic invasion, constitutional weakness (congenital), diet, and emotional disturbances. In most cases, this leads to an accumulation of pathogenic phlegm, which obstructs lung function. Acupuncture can help to resolve phlegm while also addressing the underlying cause of the illness.

Chinese medicine and respiratory disease

Chinese medicine practitioners may also use other modalities to help with the treatment of respiratory conditions. Dietary modifications are often used in Chinese medicine to help address underlying factors that may be contributing to respiratory conditions. Some foods are particularly inflammatory for people with this condition, and may also result in the production of excess phlegm. While some foods should be avoided, there are other foods that may be recommended to help promote healthy lung function. Chinese herbs may also be prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner to further support the lungs. As Chinese medicine is a holistic medicine, dietary recommendations, and herbal prescriptions are based on each individual patient. What may be the underlying cause of respiratory problems in one patient may be different in another. At Advanced Holistic Center, we will come up with a treatment plan specific to your needs and presenting signs and symptoms.

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