For those suffering from cystic fibrosis, combining acupuncture with conventional medicine can be a huge blessing, improving patients’ overall quality of life and pain management. Read more below to see how we can help.
Cystic Fibrosis and Acupuncture
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that disrupts normal function of the specific cells in the body. These cells called, epithelial cells, line the passageways of many of our vital organs, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, reproductive system and the skin.
Those who have cystic fibrosis have a genetic defect that impairs cell function. This can lead to a buildup of sticky mucus throughout the body that may eventually lead to lung damage and chronic coughing, affecting how patients with cystic fibrosis breathe and filter air, digest their food and absorb the nutrients from that food.
In the United States alone, there are nearly 12 million people who suffer from this disease. Unfortunately, there is no known cure and most of those affected with the disease only live into their 20s and 30s. Current modern medicine treatments focus on increasing the quality of life by managing symptoms.
How different modalities can help Cystic Fibrosis
There are several different modalities used to treat the symptoms of cystic fibrosis in Chinese Medicine. Everything from acupuncture to cupping can be utilized to help the patient and decrease the buildup of mucus throughout the body.
In traditional Chinese medical theory, people are born with a limited amount of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or vital energy, and over time it is depleted. However, Qi can be regenerated by incorporating healthy living choices, like regular exercise, proper sleep and a healthy, balanced diet. Those who suffer from the disease, begin life with a smaller supply of Qi and this means it is vital for them to save as much Qi as possible. Because cystic fibrosis attacks the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, these areas immediately become deficient and weak. Regular acupuncture treatments can help by stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms to preserve Qi.
How acupuncture can help:
From the 400-plus acupuncture points on the human body, many are especially helpful for expelling phlegm and mucus, decreasing pain and helping to calm the central nervous system, all of which are symptoms of cystic fibrosis. If a cystic fibrosis patient is suffering from chest pain due to excessive phlegm buildup in the lungs, then regular acupuncture treatments can help decrease that pain and make it easier for the person to breathe.
Studies are showing promise on how acupuncture can help pain management in CF patients. One study by reported: “No side effects or complications were reported in relation to the acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is effective for managing symptoms and illnesses associated with cystic fibrosis.” (Lin, 2005).
In a different study looking at how electroacupuncture used at specific acupuncture points can help to regulate cystic fibrosis ion channels. This new research could be very promising for proving exactly how acupuncture works for conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
Cupping Therapy and Cystic Fibrosis
Another modality frequently used in Chinese Medicine is cupping. Cupping therapy involves negative pressure that will act like a suction cup to draw oxygen-rich blood into the tissues, which facilitates healing. Cupping can also draw out toxins and create drainage, which can help break up any phlegm in the lungs, thus decreasing pain in the chest area.
For those suffering from cystic fibrosis, combining acupuncture with conventional medicine can be a huge blessing, improving patients’ overall quality of life and pain management.
If you suffer from chronic pain, please give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to see how we can help!
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Most insurances accepted. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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