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Acupuncture Chinese Herbal Medicine treatment for




Asthma, or "Xiao Chuan" in Chinese, is a disease characterized by repeated attacks
of paroxysmal shortness of breath, wheezing in the throat, despite having the mouth open and shoulders  raised. Actually, "Xiao"  (wheezing)  and "Chuan"  (panting)  are different symptoms, but they both manifest as coarse breathing. "Xiao"  (Wheezing) is characterized by wheezing in the throat, while "Chuan" (panting) is difficulty in breathing even breathing with the mouth open and the shoulders raised. Their causes and pathogenesis of the disease are similar, and they often appear clinically simultaneously, so they are discussed together as "Xiao Chuan" (asthma). Asthma attacks occur year­ round, especially during cold seasons or drastic climate changes. In western medicine, it refers to diseases such as bronchial asthma, chronic asthmatic bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema and cardiac asthma.

Causes and Pathogenesis of the Disease

The basic cause of the disease  is the internal  retention  of phlegm-fluid.  It can be partiality blamed on the consumption of salty and greasy food, or sea foods such as shrimps and crabs. It may cause dysfunction  of the spleen in transformation  and transportation, resulting in retention of dampness and phlegm which may block the air passages. In children, the asthma attacks are usually induced by seasonal contraction of external evils. In adults, the attacks are induced by prolonged coughing, emotional disturbance and over-exertion, which can provoke the hidden phlegm-fluid in the lung. During the stage of paroxysm, the disease manifests as an excessive pattern since there is a blockage of qi and an accumulation of phlegm. In the stage of intermission, the disease manifests as a deficiency pattern since the repeat recurrent attacks impair the functions of the lung and kidney.

Identification of Patterns

(1) Excess patterns

Chief symptoms   An asthma  attack  presents  with harsh, deep and prolonged breathing, with a preference for exhaling, and a forceful pulse during a brief episode or in a full-blown stage of paroxysm.

The  pattern of wind-cold invasion may  manifest as coughing and  panting, expectoration of watery sputum, aversion to cold, absence of sweating, headache, absence of thirst, a thin white tongue coating and a floating, tight pulse. The pattern of phlegm­ heat obstructing the lung may manifest as coughing, difficulty in expectorating sputum, oppression in the chest, pain in the chest and hypochondriac regions, or accompanied by fever, thirst, poor appetite, constipation, a red tongue with a yellow greasy coating and a slippery, rapid pulse.

(2) Deficiency patterns

Chief symptoms   Asthma  with  a low sound,  dyspnea,  weak  constitution, a forceless and feeble pulse, long course of other diseases, recurrent paroxysm, or in the stage of intermission.

The pattern of deficiency of lung-qi may manifest as dyspnea with shortness of breath aggravated by exertion, sputum wheezing in the throat, lassitude, debility, watery sputum,  sweating  by exertion,  a light-colored tongue  with  a thin white  coating  and a thready, rapid pulse.  In the pattern  of deficiency  of kidney-qi,  it may be manifested  as short and abrupt breathing, increased exhalation  and decreased inhalation, discontinuous breathing,  asthma  aggravated by exertion,  cold  limbs after  perspiration, a pale tongue with a thin white coating and a deep, thready pulse.


(1) Primary treatment

Excess patterns

Principal points    Lieque  (LU 7), Chize (LU 5), Danzhong  (CV 17), Feishu  (BL 13), and Dingchuan (EX-B1)
Supplementary points   In the pattern of wind-cold,  add Fengmen  (BL 12); in the pattern of wind-heat,  add Dazhui (GV 14) and Quchi (LI 11); in the pattern of phlegm­ heat, add Fenglong (ST 40); and in the pattern of severe dyspnea, add Tiantu (CV 22).
Explanation    Lieque  (LU 7) of hand-taiyin  channel  is selected  to disperse  lung­
qi and dispel the evil qi out of the body. Chize (LU 5), the He-Sea  Point of hand-taiyin channel,  is used  to descend  the adverse-rising of lung-qi  for dissipating phlegm  and subsiding  asthma. Danzhong  (CV 17), the Influential  Point of qi, is used to release  the distressed chest  and regulate  qi dynamics.  Feishu  (BL 13), the Back-Shu  Point  of the lung, is selected to allow the lung to dissipate phlegm. Dingchuan (EX-Bl) is an empiric and effective point for asthma.

Deficiency patterns

Principal points   Feishu (BL 13), Gaohuang (BL 43), Shenshu (BL 23), Dingchuan
(EX-B1), Taiyuan (LU 9), Taixi (KI 3) and Zusanli (ST 36).
Supplementary  points    In the pattern  of deficiency of lung-qi,  add Chize  (LU
5) and Qihai (CV 6). In the pattern  of deficiency  ofkidney-qi, add Yingu (KI 10) and
Guanyuan (CV 4)..
Explanation   Acupuncture with moxibustion on Feishu (BL 13) and Gaohuang (BL
43) can torrify lung-qi and moisten lung-yin. Shenshu (BL 23) can enhance the reception of kidney-qi.  Joint use of Taiyuan (LU 9) and Taixi (KI 3), the respective  Yuan-Source Points of lung channel and kidney channel, can supplement the original qi of the lung and kidney. Zusanli (ST 36) can regulate the spleen and stomach to supply the source of vital activity so as to transport the refined substances from foodstuff up to the lung and make lung-qi sufficient. Dingchuan (EX-Bl) is an empiric and effective point for asthma.

(2) Alternate methods of treatment

External  point-application   Select Feishu  (BL  13),  Gaohuang (BL  43)  and
Dingchuan (EX-B1). Grind baijie zi (Semen Sinapis Albae) 30g, gan sui (Radix Kansui)
15g, and xi xin (Herba Asari) 15g into a powder, and mix the herbal powder with ginger juice into a paste, shaping  it into small cakes the size of a lima bean. Then, put a little Dinggui Powder on the herbal cakes, apply the cakes on the above points and affix coated fabric on them. Remove them in 3 hours when the applied regions become flushed and slightly painful. In case of blistering, sterilize and prick the blisters, and then apply gentian violet on the affected areas. It is also advisable to apply ban mao (Cantharis) plaster using the same procedure as above on the blistering points.

Point catgut implantation Select Dingchuan (EX-B1) and Feishu (BL 13). After disinfection and local infiltration anesthesia of the points, embed catgut (0#) in the muscle layer under the points using a triangle suture needle. Repeat the treatment every 10 to 15 days.


Acupuncture. can remarkably reduce the frequency of attacks during the stage of intermission. Treatment during the Three Periods of Dog Days in the summer has better preventive effects. For cases with severe asthma, medications are recommended.

Asthma may be seen in many diseases. After reli ving the asthmatic paroxysm, the
primary diseases should be treated accordingly. Cardiac asthma is often seen in left heart
insufficiency due to pneumonedema, and should be properly diagnosed. In this case, acupuncture may be used as an adjunctive therapy.

Patients should keep warm during the time of seasonal change, and do suitable outdoor exercises. For cases with an allergic constitution, it is advisable to stay away from allergens, quit smoking and drinking alcohol, and stop consuming greasy, pungent and allergy-inducing foods.





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Ming Chen, L.Ac., OMD

Lu xia Yang, L.Ac., OMD

Xiao Huan Jin , L.Ac., OMD

LA Torrance Acupuncture Chinese Medicine

Address:1327 Sartori Ave., Torrance, CA 90501
Phone: 310-316-5707