About Bronchial Asthma

Bronchial Asthma is an episodic allergic pulmonary disease.Exposure to some trigger factors results in narrowing of the air passage way that allows us to breathe due to inflammation with mucous caused swollen inside. The main symptoms of asthma are cough, dyspnoea, chest tightness. The trigger factors range from colds, exercise, inhaled allergens, smoke to temperature changing, some drugs, chemicals, foods, preservatives, flavorings, colorings.

In most cases, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective. After a series of treatments, asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath are reduced. The frequency of an asthmatic episode can also be minimized. In fact, many people can usually resume an active lifestyle.

Treatment consideration

Asthma in TCM is attributable to the categories of "xiao" (bronchial wheezing) and "chuan" (dyspnea). For pattern differentiation and treatment strateges, the location of disease is related to lung organ. Like wheezing, dyspnea, coughing, etc., they all belong to the abnormal function of lungs. The factors attacking lungs include external heat, cold, wind, dampness and internal factors like blood stasis, liver qi stagnation and phlegm accumulation / blockage. These factors may cause excess syndromes. But there are some factors due to deficiency of internal organs like kidney, liver, spleen. Weak kidney could not hold lung qi, cause short of breath. Liver fire makes lung drying and wheeazing, and weak spleen generates phlegm & block the dispersion of lung qi & cause coughing. So Asthma is a kind of condition quite complicated, and there are many factors and many organ functions need to be taken into account when doing the treatment. There is no way to treat asthma only by using one herb, or one formula, or one method, or in one period of time, or focus on only one organ function.

Diagnostically, asthma can be seen to involve one of the five causative syndromes: fluid Retention in the lung; Retention of Phlegm-Heat in the lung; deficiency of Spleen and Lung Qi; deficiency of Lung and Kidney Yin; and deficiency of Heart and Kidney Yang. As for the individual, the syndrome might be just a mixture of these & may be found in transition or in multiple forms.

TCM Treatment methods

The classic book Neijing, it said that all wheezing and fullness are originated with heat; too much qi accumulated cause wheezing & cough; qi excess results in wheezing & difficult breathing; and wheezing & cough are the result of water/ dampness obstructing Yangming channels. So started from this theory, ancient doctor Li shi cai said that it is important to diagnose patterns clearly. "chuan" is due to evil fire in lung flare up adversely and the qi not disperse downward. The herb treatment methods he listed as below:

Qi deficient with lung fire: formula sheng mai san 1st.
With phlegm: formula liu jun zi tang;
Yin deficient with lung fire & cannot lie down for sleep: formula: liu wei di huang wan 1st; plus formula sheng mai san if yin deficiency.
Wind Cold attacking: formula hua gai san;
Too much dampness: formula shen shi tang;
Summer heat with formula Bai hu tang to clear heart heat.
phlegm accumulation: formula er cheng tang;
Qi stagnation: formula Si Qi tang;
chest fullness and floating big pulse: formula yuepi plus banxiao tang; only with floating pulse: using xiao qing long jia shi gao tang.
Kidney with deficient fire: formula bao wei wan;
kidney deficiency resulting in internal fluid accumulation: formula ji sheng shen qi wan.

About acupuncture methods, the basic methods may refer to books or articals from Prof. Shao, Jingming or Jin, Yue.They use the back shus as a basic treatment plus other points to suit different conditions. Prof Shao's methods are quite effective according to their reports of statistics. It is said that there is 18% of asthma patients are cured, 91.4% were effective in treating 607 cases.