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Will acupuncture help emphysema and bronchitis

Q: I am 70 years male living in Manchester.  I am suffering lungs diseases - emphysema and bronchitis for  five years.  It is mild not severe. Please let me know whether  it can be treated with acupuncture.

A: We always choose our words very carefully when we answer questions like yours. The reason lies in the nature of traditional acupuncture and the fact that it treats the person, not the condition. From our perspective our work is aimed at getting the whole system to work as well as it can in the belief that when the underlying balance of the body's energies is as good as it can be this will help to remove or reduce the symptoms which people are experiencing.

 We always tread carefully, though, because when we are asked ' do we treat something?', when we say yes we mean that we treat the person with the something. However, people tend to hear the word 'cure' when someone says 'I treat X', and this can give false expectations about what may be possible.

 In your case, the emphysema and bronchiectasis are unlikely to be reversible, and treatment would be aimed at getting the system to work as well as it can do within these restrictions. We have treated many people over the years with similar levels of impairment, and it has always seemed to help to a degree, even if the change wasn't so much in the actual physical limitations but in the attitude which people had to their problems. It is not unusual for people with lung damage to feel anxious and a little negative, and changing this alone can make a difference.

We would always advise someone to visit a local BAcC member for a brief face to face consultation to see what might be possible. This is always more useful than advice given at a distance, and most of our colleagues would be happy to offer someone a short amount of time without charge to establish whether treatment was a good option.

We also wonder whether some form of limited exercise like tai chi or qi gong might be a useful addition to treatment. These are both exercise routines within Chinese medicine which help to improve the flow of energy, and we have known people to use them to very good effect to supplement the help they get from acupuncture treatment.


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