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Treating Allergies and Asthma with Acupuncture

Asthma and allergies are complex conditions in Chinese medicine that may involve multiple pathologies and organ deficiencies, depending upon the signs and symptoms. The most consistent pathology is Wind, which may become lodged in the Lungs, in the case of asthma, or in the Yang Ming channels in the case of allergies. Other pathologies that may be involved include Heat, Cold, and Phlegm, while the deficiencies include Lung Qi, and Spleen Qi deficiency, and Kidney deficiency, either Kidney Yang or Kidney Yin. In the case of allergies and allergic asthma, the involvement of the Liver is usually indicated. The classic diagnosis of asthma in TCM is Xiao-Chuan, meaning wheezing-breathlessness. Allergic asthma was unknown in ancient China and is still rare there today. However Chinese living in the west and living a western life-style and eating a western diet, have allergic asthma at about the same incidence as westerners, indicating a connection to western life-style, and diet, especially cow's milk, and possibly medications, and immunizations.

Wei Qi, or defensive Qi is responsible for maintaining the borders and expelling external pathogenic factors. The main organs involved in this effort are the Lungs, which spread the Wei Qi to the skin and muscle level, and the Kidneys, which are the root origin of the defensive Qi. The Kidney Yang in particular warms the skin and provides the source of Yang for the whole body. A deficiency of either Lung Qi or Kidney Yang may lead to a deficiency of Wei Qi. When this occur external pathogenic factors such as Wind, Heat or Cold may penetrate to deeper levels in the body and not be fully dispelled. This may be the case especially in cases of early onset allergic asthma.

In the case of Chuan the main pathogenic factor is Phlegm. Expelling the Phlegm will alleviate the symptoms of asthma. In the case of Xiao however, the main pathogenic factor is Wind. Wind has the characteristics of being insubstantial, and of coming and going. It is not easily dispelled and is related to allergens such as pollen, animal dander and fecal matter from mites and cockroaches. The main problem, which must be addressed in this case, is the underlying deficiency of Wei Qi, which cannot maintain the borders and prevent the attack from Wind. The solution is a two pronged approach that works to expel the Wind while also correcting any organ deficiencies. I have had excellent results helping asthmatics lower their dependence on inhalers and manage their symptoms. People with allergies have also had significant reduction in their symptoms and are breathing freer without medications.

Terry Tangredi Lic. Ac. 131 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. 01038 (413) 247-3388