Asthma, a disorder that was first described by Hippo crates in the fourth century B.C. as “to breathe hard “, has now become a devastating social and economic burden to most countries’ health care systems, with millions of asthma-afflicted individuals worldwide.

Asthma Facts and Statistics

An asthma attack leads to lung infection, tiredness and cough and it is not surprising that asthma is a leading medical cause of absenteeism of children from school and adults from work the attack can be seasonal when the pollen count is high in the atmosphere. For people with asthma, breathing is always on their minds. There is always the chance that an asthma attack will leave them gasping for air. An attack of asthma leads to breathing difficulties and the attack can be acute when it lasts for a short period or chronic when it lasts for days. The attack can also be mild or severe and a life threatening one.

Common Asthma Triggers

Triggers often bring on asthma attacks. A trigger is any thing or condition that causes inflammation in the airways, which then leads to asthma symptoms.

Your personal triggers can be very different from those of another person with asthma. But in every case, it’s important to avoid your triggers in order to keep airway inflammation to a minimum and reduce the symptoms.

Inflammatory Triggers

Inflammatory (allergic) triggers can cause inflammation of the lungs’ airways or tightening of the airways’ muscles. Inflammatory triggers include:

• Dust mites
• Animals
• Cockroaches
• Moulds
• Pollens
• Viral infections
• Certain air pollutants
Symptom Triggers

Symptom (non-allergic) triggers generally do not cause inflammation, but they can provoke “twitchy” airways, especially if they’re already inflamed. Symptom triggers include:

• Smoke
• Exercise
• Cold air
• Chemical fumes and other strong-smelling substances like perfumes
• Certain food additives like sulfites
• Certain air pollutants
• Intense emotions

The conservative estimates are that about 300 million people are suffering from the condition worldwide. In India, there is approx. 40 million who have the disease and the number is rising everyday. In recent decade there has been a global increase in the burden of the disease among both children and adults. This may be due to westernization of lifestyles and increasing atmospheric pollution. By 2025 there are likely to be 400 million asthma sufferers worldwide. The more worrying aspect of the disease is that it accounts for about 1 in every 250 deaths worldwide and 90% of these deaths are preventable. Most deaths are due to delay in seeking help and sub-optimal long-term treatment strategies due to the lack of education and awareness about the disease.

Recent developments

Recent studies have begun to unlock the pathology of asthma, now known as a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. In addition to medications for controlling this inflammation, recognizing symptoms and triggers of asthma, both in children and adults, is an important feature of a good asthma management plan.
Acupuncture and Asthma

Acupuncture for asthma may sound like an odd combination. But if you are an asthma sufferer, it can seem at times that anything – even something as mysterious as acupuncture – is worth trying.

Acupuncture has traditionally been used to treat asthma in China and is used increasingly for this purpose internationally. It consists of the stimulation of defined points on the skin (mostly by insertion of very fine almost painless needles). The objective of this review was to assess whether there is evidence from randomized controlled trials that asthma patients benefit from acupuncture.

How does acupuncture work?

In spite of a great deal of excellent research designed to answer this question, as yet there are no good, clear, simple answers available. Other research has shown that acupuncture can assist the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells. It’s also been shown that Alpha, Beta and Gamma Globulins increase after acupuncture therapy, and these assist in fighting infection and producing immune antibodies.


The objective of this review was to assess the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of asthma or asthma-like symptoms. Selection criteria> Randomized and possibly randomized trials using needle acupuncture or other forms of stimulation of acupuncture. Any form of control treatment was considered along with dietary precautions (no treatment in addition to conventional asthma treatment, sham or placebo interventions).

Data collection and analysis

Data was collected from 4 main regions (Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Mumbai) and was analysed according to the effects of climate and culture on the patients.
Main results

Total approx.10,000 patients of Asthma were taken with Acupuncture at different locations.(Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan)

It was seen during and after the treatment that diet plays a major role along with Acupuncture in controlling Asthma. Mainly milk products and cold drinks aggravate Asthma. So before starting Asthma treatment dietary precautions should be considered first.

Overall result with acupuncture therapy was approximately 90%, which is very much encouraging and the more interesting was that, it was with a single day therapy of 20 minutes only known as Catgut Ligation Therapy.

Out of 90% patients, only 10% got repeated one attack in one year, 15% in second year and 10% in third year and rest of them got long-term effect. The patients who got repeated attack were normal after taking one more treatment and are leading a normal life without any medicine.

Main benefit of this treatment is that patient leads a normal life without medicine with this treatment.


Acupuncture can improve clinical symptoms and pulmonary function and can stop or reduce the dose of anti-asthma agents and has a certain long-term therapeutic effect.

There is enough evidence to make recommendations about the value of acupuncture in asthma treatment. A lot of awareness is needed to implement this therapy.

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