Can Acupuncture Address Respiratory Problems Like Asthma?

Can acupuncture address respiratory problems like asthma? This question has been a topic of interest for many individuals seeking alternative therapies to manage their respiratory conditions. Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote wellbeing. While some studies suggest that acupuncture may have potential benefits for asthma sufferers, the research on this topic is still limited, and more evidence is needed to make definitive conclusions.

The Theory Behind Acupuncture

Acupuncture is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is believed to be the vital energy that flows through meridians or pathways in the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, when the flow of Qi is disrupted or imbalanced, it can lead to various health issues. By inserting needles into specific acupuncture points along these meridians, acupuncturists aim to restore the balance and promote the free flow of energy.

Asthma and the Respiratory System

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, resulting in difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. While asthma is commonly managed with medications such as inhalers and corticosteroids, many people seek complementary therapies to alleviate their symptoms and improve overall respiratory health.

Some proponents of acupuncture believe that it can help address respiratory problems like asthma by targeting certain acupuncture points associated with the lungs and respiratory system. These points are believed to help open up the airways, reduce inflammation, and improve lung function.

Scientific Research on Acupuncture and Asthma

The scientific evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture for asthma treatment is limited and often inconclusive. While some studies suggest that acupuncture may have positive effects on asthma symptoms and lung function, others have found little to no benefit. It is important to note that many of these studies have small sample sizes, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions.

In a review of several randomized controlled trials, researchers found that acupuncture may improve symptoms and decrease the use of rescue medications in asthma patients. However, the review also noted the need for more rigorous studies to establish the true efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for asthma.

Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine investigated the long-term effects of acupuncture on asthma management. The results showed that participants who received acupuncture experienced fewer asthma attacks, reduced symptoms, and improved quality of life compared to those who received a placebo treatment.

While these findings are promising, it is important to approach them with caution due to the limitations of the existing research. Acupuncture should not be considered a primary treatment for asthma, and individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers before making any changes to their asthma management plan.

Complementary Care and Wellness

While the efficacy of acupuncture for asthma remains inconclusive, many individuals still find benefit from integrating holistic and complementary therapies into their overall wellness routine. Managing asthma often requires a multidimensional approach that addresses various factors contributing to symptom severity and frequency.

Acupuncture, when used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments, may provide some individuals with additional relief from their asthma symptoms. The relaxation and stress-reducing benefits associated with acupuncture can also have a positive impact on overall well-being.


Although acupuncture remains a subject of ongoing research in relation to asthma treatment, its effectiveness is yet to be definitively proven. While some studies suggest potential benefits, the evidence is limited, and further research is needed to understand the true impact of acupuncture on respiratory problems like asthma. In the meantime, individuals with asthma should continue to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive management plan that incorporates proven medical interventions and complementary therapies.