Cough and Asthma Conditions

Coughing and wheezing are the most common symptoms of a respiratory condition. Coughs that last less than three weeks are most commonly caused by the common cold or flu but both coughing and wheezing can become persistent and require medical attention before other related problems start to arise. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating respiratory conditions for thousands of years. In 1979, the World Health Organization listed respiratory tract disease, including asthma and bronchitis, among diseases that are benefited from acupuncture. Tao of Wellness has extensive experience in improving and reversing many respiratory problems so our patients can recover more rapidly and restore an active life.


How We Successfully Treat Respiratory Conditions

Irritants from the environment enter the airway and signal the brain to stimulate a cough, which is a forceful burst of air to expel the irritant. However, this mechanism can become chronic in some people, usually as a result of conditions with inflammation and excess mucus such as allergies, bronchitis, post-nasal drip, and asthma. Asthma on the other hand is a chronic lung disease where the walls of the airways, called the bronchial tubes, become inflamed. The swelling of the bronchial tubes and the excessive mucus secreted from the walls cause the tubes to narrow, which partially blocks the airway.

In the United States asthma is the most common chronic condition among children, affecting more than one child in twenty. An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from asthma. Every day 5,000 patients visit the emergency room and 14 people die due to complications of asthma in the U.S.

There are many studies relating to the success of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of asthma in the last 20 years. For example, in 1993, the Division of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of Vienna, Austria, reported a study that concluded after 10 weeks of acupuncture treatments, over 70% of longstanding asthma patients achieved significant improvement.

In most cases of respiratory conditions, acupunctureChinese herbal medicine and nutritional therapies are very effective. After a series of treatments, respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath are reduced. The frequency of episodes of respiratory distress can also be minimized. Many people can usually resume an active lifestyle.


Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming Respiratory Conditions

Acupuncture points on the body are intersections of nerves and blood vessels. When activated with acupuncture, they serve to strengthen the innate ability of the body to heal itself. Acupuncture sends a signal which starts at the skin and travels through the nerves and spinal cord, to inform the brain that change is necessary. This stimulation triggers various healing mechanisms throughout the circulatory and nervous systems reducing inflammation of the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract while also supporting the immune system. Rutgers University verified in a published study acupuncture’s ability to reduce inflammation and therefore relieve cough and asthma.¹ Learn more about acupuncture.


Chinese Herbal Therapy
Chinese herbs for respiratory conditions are prescribed as customized formulas which are different for each patient. According to the patient’s condition, many herbs are put together in a group to enhance the benefit of the treatment with little to no side effects. Some herbs have anti-inflammatory properties and others fight infection. When used in the ideal combination, herbs have the ability to effectively treat respiratory conditions. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.


Nutritional Therapy

Nutritional Consultations
Each patient receives nutritional guidance, but with a Nutritional Consultation we guide the patient through a customized eating plan to specifically reduce inflammation, lower mucus production, and optimize immune function with the creation of unique meals and snacks made special for the patient.

Nutritional Supplements
There are a host of supplements our licensed practitioners recommend for respiratory function and immune support. Working with a health professional can eliminate the risks associated with choosing and dosing inappropriate over-the-counter health aides. Vitamin C, D, medicinal mushrooms, and zinc may all be helpful when working on improving respiratory conditions. Learn more about nutritional therapy.

¹ Dopamine Mediates Vagal Modulation of the Immune System by Electroacupuncturedoi:10.1038/nm.3479


Respiratory Condition Patient Success Stories

Breathing Deeply Again with Tai Chi
Susan is 67 years old and suffers from bronchiectasis, which is the destruction and widening of the large airways of the lungs, and leads to chronic scarring, profuse mucus, cough, and infection. She came in for acupuncture to relieve her inflammation. The result was quite favorable and encouraging. At the same time, Susan discovered tai chi. Through her regular tai chi practice, she was able to finally feel the depth of her breath, the power of her body, and the grace of her movements. After such a long time of feeling weak and short of breath, Susan felt alive again. With the chronic nature of bronchiectasis, Susan is susceptible to periodic flare-ups but her symptoms are manageable now with her regimen of tai chi, herbal medicine, and acupuncture.


Chronic Bronchitis Stopped in its Tracks
Janeane is 50 years old and had been struggling with bronchitis for 6 weeks when she came in for a consultation. Upon meeting her, she was very frustrated and worried, since she had never had a cough this long before. Janeane was using a steroid inhaler, codeine cough syrup, and a cough suppressant for the duration of her illness without sustained relief. Since she hadn’t gotten relief we had her stop taking the cough suppressant and suggested an anti-inflammatory eating plan. We treated her with acupuncture in addition to a Chinese herbal formula designed to moisten and thin out the thick mucus so that it was more easily expelled. The next day Janeane reported noticeable relief and by the following week her bronchitis symptoms had subsided.


Severe Asthma Under Control
5 year old Taylor was brought to us by his parents as he’d been suffering from severe asthma since he was 1 year old. He had a frequent, dry cough and suffered asthma attacks so severe that he was regularly hospitalized and given steroid treatments. Taylor also suffered from severe eczema (an autoimmune disorder affecting the skin). After examining Taylor we began treating him with pediatric acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to relieve inflammation and mucus. At first, the acupuncture involved a momentary stimulation of acupoints, with the therapy lasting only a few seconds. After a few months, Taylor was able to receive 30-minute long acupuncture sessions as he watched cartoons on his parent’s iPad. We also advised his parents on some basic dietary guidelines to prevent asthma attacks, such as avoiding sugar, gluten, and dairy products. After some time he no longer required regular treatments but continued to take a customized maintenance herbal formula. Asthma attacks would infrequently occur, but both the asthma and eczema were much milder and better managed using Chinese medicine. Taylor is now a happy 8 year old who lives a very active normal life.


Treating Respiratory Infection With Their Own Hands
Jake Nuesca is an active third grader who plays in a garage band, bikes, runs, plays ball, does yoga and studies tae kwon do. When he was an infant, Jake had severe breathing problems, was hospitalized and diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). He was started on an Albuterol inhaler, but even with thrice-daily treatment, Jake’s breathing kept getting worse. By the time he was five, Jake was put on anti-inflammatory steroids. Jake’s mother, Leslie, was worried about the side-effects of inhalers and steroids, so she took him to an osteopath who placed Jake on a wheat-, dairy-, soy- and corn-free diet. Still, Jake continued to need medications to help him breathe easily.

Leslie brought Jake in for treatment with Andrea Thorpe, L.Ac. at the Tao of Wellness. Jake was not able to tolerate herbs, so Andrea treated him with acupuncture, cupping and gua-sha (a Chinese medical treatment where parts of the body are lubricated, pressured and scraped with a rounded object.) Andrea also taught Leslie how to do simple gua-sha treatments on Jake, using eucalyptus oil and the edge of a spoon. Leslie says, “We were able to keep cutting back on medication, and now he hasn’t needed it for two years.” Today, Leslie brings Jake in for “tune-up” treatments, especially during times of respiratory challenge like proximity to a furry pet.


Natural Healthcare for Cough & Asthma

Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address cough and asthma. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.