Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture COPD Relief Discovered

acupuncture copdrelief

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for the alleviation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University researchers compared two test groups. One received COPD treatment with placebo needling and the other group received authentic electroacupuncture. The results show that acupuncture reduces small air way obstructions and increases breathing volume, ventillation, overall respiratory function, and exercise tolerance. [1] Learn about acupuncture and Chinese medicine at HealthCMi, a provider of acupuncture CEU continuing education.

COPD is a category of diseases involving airflow blockage and breathing problems and includes disorders such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Common symptoms are shortness of breath, dyspnea, wheezing, and coughing. Standard care often includes rescue inhalers, oral steroids, exercises, lifestyle modifications, and additional medications. The results were definitive. The true acupuncture group had significant improvements that the placebo group did not have. The improvements were signifiicant across several parameters: Maximal Expiratory Flow (MEF), FVC Exhaled, COPD Assessment Test (CAT), Maximal Voluntary Ventilation (MVV), Maximal Expiratory Flow (MEF), Oxygen Uptake Per Kilogram Body Weight (VO2), Cardiopulmonary Exercise/Metabolic Equivalent Test Indexs (MET), Maximal Minute Ventilation (VEmax), 6-Minute Walk Distance (6MWD). The improvements from acupuncture were great enough to ameliorate the overall impact of COPD on patient life.

The researchers note that the use of electroacupuncture increased mucociliary clearance, reduced the impact of lung damage, relieved dyspnea, and downregulated GF-β inhibited airway remodeling. They determined that acupuncture is effective for treating excessively high secretions and fibrosis of chronic mucus in the small airways.

A total of 62 patients with stable COPD were randomly categorized into an electroacupuncture group and a sham control group, with 32 cases in each group. As the study progressed, one case dropped in each group. The patient ages ranged from 40 to 70 years. Exclusion criteria were severe mental disorders, such as dementia and Parkinson's Disease, severe cardiac diseases, blood diseases, tumors, high blood pressure, and malfunction of the lower limb.

Treatment was administered on alternate days for a total of six weeks. Both groups were given Zhi Ke Hua Tan capsules to relieve cough and reduce phlegm. Patients in these two groups also undertook 40-minute aerobic exercises using a bicycle apparatus (Monark Ergomedic 828E). Exercises were suspended if the rate of perceived exertion scale (RPE) exceeded 14.

For the electroacupuncture group, 0.30 mm × 025 mm filiform needles were inserted perpendicularly. The following acupoints were chosen:

  • CV17 (Danzhong)
  • ST18 (Rugen)
  • CV4 (Guanyuan)
  • CV12 (Zhongwan)
  • ST25 (Tianshu)
  • ST16 (Yingchuang)

Two additional acupoints were used based on symptom presentation. If patients suffered from exterior pathogenic influences, LI4 (Hegu) was chosen. If patients experienced interior phlegm, ST40 (Fenglong) was selected. Needles were connected to an electroacupuncture device set to 2 Hz for 30 minutes. A continuous wave was used. For the sham control group, non-penetrating placebo needles were used at the acupoints. The results demonstrate that electroacupuncture is effective for the alleviation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).


1. He Ying, Li Guiyuan, Zheng Zeguang, Gao Yi, etc., Effect of Electroacupuncture on Small Airway Function in Patients with Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion, Aug. 2021, Vol. 41, No. 8.


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