Acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion and cupping have been proven effective for the treatment of asthma. Acupuncture continuing education researchers from Hebei’s People’s Hospital of Xinglong County and Chengde Municipal Sanitary Agency investigated two separate approaches to patient care. One group received only acupuncture and the other study group received a combination of acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion and herbal medicine. Cupping is the use of suction cups on the surface of the skin applied to achieve medical benefits. Moxibustion, also known as moxa, is the burning of herbs near the skin to produce a medicinal warming effect. Both groups showed significant improvements, however, the group receiving a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies demonstrated clinically superior patient outcomes. As a result, the researchers conclude that combining acupuncture with cupping, moxibustion and herbal medicine is more effective than using only acupuncture.
A total patient sample size of 110 patients with chronic asthma was randomly divided into two equal sized groups. Group #1 received only acupuncture therapy. Group #2 received acupuncture plus the addition of cupping, moxibustion and herbal medicine. The acupuncture only group had a total effective rate of 58% and the acupuncture combined with herbs, moxibustion and cupping group had a total effective rate of 98%.
Group #1 received acupuncture stimulation at acupoints Dazhu (BL11), Fengmen (BL12), Feishu (BL13), Huatoujiaji points and Zusanli (ST36). Acupuncture needling was applied once daily with even reinforcing and reducing manual manipulation techniques. The retention of needling was 30 minutes. One course of treatment consisted of 10 days and there was a two day break after each course of care. The patient outcomes were analyzed after the completion of three courses of care.
Group #2 received acupuncture stimulation at acupoints Dazhu (BL11), Fengmen (BL12) and Feishu (BL13). Following a standard session of acupuncture, the bleeding technique was applied allowing 2 – 5 ml of blood to release from the acupoints along with cupping.
An example of back shu points with moxa are shown in this image. The treatment was applied once daily. A special external herbal application was applied to acupoints Dingchuan (EX-B1), BL13, Xiabailao (EX-HN15) and Yongquan (KI1). The ingredients used in the external application were Bai Ding Xiang, Rou Gui, Ma Huang, Cang Er Zi, Bai Jie Zi and Ban Xia. The herbs were ground into a fine powder and made into portions weighing approximately 2 mg each. After the herbal application, moxibustion was applied to the same acupoints for 10 minutes. The treatment was applied once daily with 10 days comprising one course of care. The clinical outcomes were evaluated after 30 days.
The overall cure rate and total effective rate for group #1 that received acupuncture as a standalone therapy was 18% and 58% respectively. The overall cure rate and total effective rate for group #2 receiving a combination of TCM care was 78% and 98% respectively. Based on the clinical outcomes, the researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with moxa, cupping and herbs is superior to using acupuncture as a standalone procedure.
Li, Xianjun, Jianjun Chen, Hongpeng Ma. “Clinical observation on Traditional Chinese Medicine’s treating bronchial asthma in the chronic phase.” Hebei Medicine 20.6 (2014): 1025-1027.