This is a form of traditional Chinese medicine in which special fine acupuncture needles are inserted at specific points on the body, usually in conjunction with herbal remedies. The Chinese believe that good health is dependent on achieving an internal balance of energies and harmony in which the organs of the body interact. In their view, an asthma attack is linked to deficiencies of energy in the airways in the lungs, which become blocked by mucus.
Acupuncture can be used to readjust the balance of energies and encourage the energy to flow through the airways. There is evidence that acupuncture can relieve wheezing, and the benefit is similar to that obtained from using a bronchodilator aerosol. It has also been demonstrated to protect against exercise-induced asthma and to soothe twitchy airways.
Very fine needles are inserted by the acupuncturist at points on the energy channels to restore the flow of energy and restore normal breathing. The needles are stimulated, usually by gentle twisting, so that the energy will pass into the channel and overcome any obstruction in the airways.
Many people have benefited from acupuncture as a preventive treatment on a short-term basis. However, there is as yet insufficient evidence that repeated and regular treatments bring long-term benefits.