Efficacy of acupuncture in asthma

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To the Editor: I read with interest the recent meta-analysis by Martin et al. [1], finding little evidence for an effect of acupuncture as a treatment for asthma, but was not surprised by the result. I spent my 6-week medical student elective in 1988 at the (“Western”-style medicine) Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Guangzhou, China. As part of the elective I reviewed: with the help of the clinic doctors, any treatments currently being used by 58 of 66 asthmatic patients attending the weekly respiratory clinic. While all except a first-time patient were taking Western treatments prescribed at the clinic, 50 (86%) had seen a traditional Chinese medical doctor for their asthma and 32 (55%) were currently using Chinese herbs. Lists of herbs being used were provided by 17 patients and 15 of these included ma huang (herba ephedra), the plant from which ephedrine was first isolated. However, only 18 (31%) patients had ever tried acupuncture for their asthma, five of whom volunteered that acupuncture had little effect. Four of the patients had had acupuncture on one of the san fu tian, the three hottest days of the year according to the lunar calendar, to reinforce the body’s yang to protect against winter asthma in the yin time of year. I was also told that in some areas, injection with dead tubercle into acupuncture points was used as a treatment for patients with intrinsic asthma. This is interesting in view of the recent discussion relating to the role of bacilli Calmette-Guérin vaccination and mycobacteria in relation to allergic disease development.

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2009-12-09   |   753 visitas   |   Evalua este artículo 0 valoraciones

Vol. 56 Núm.5. Septiembre-Octubre 2009 Pags. 180 Rev Alergia Mex 2009; 56(5)