Acupuncture helpful to COPD patients

COPD patients benefit from acupuncture

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Researchers in Japan have recently come to the conclusion that will help lend some hope to those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. A study conducted on 68 patients with COPD has seemed to demonstrate that acupuncture may help alleviate symptoms of the disease.

COPD is a rare disease that causes shortness of breath, especially during physical activity. It is a progressive condition affecting the lungs, and unfortunately is growing more and more common, especially among smokers. Those affected by COPD often develop the illness due to smoking or by inhaling some other harmful chemicals at some point during their lives. There is no cure for COPD – only treatment that aims to slow the development and effects.

All the participants of the study were treated with standard medication, but half of the subjects were also given real acupuncture while the other half were given a false treatment. Effects of the treatment were then measured by sending participants on a 6 minute walk, following which researchers observed how well they were breathing. Those who had received the acupuncture treatment were breathing better than the other group, and on average were also able to walk farther.

Dr. George Lewith, of the University of Southampton co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “The effects of acupuncture are large…This is particularly remarkable in a condition that seems largely unresponsive to more conventional treatments.”

The reason for acupuncture’s beneficial impact on COPD patients is that it helps the muscles of the chest to strengthen and move better, making breathing easier than it would be in a stressed body.

The study done to test the beneficial effects of acupuncture in this case has not yet been duplicated, and so the findings can not yet be confirmed by the medical community.

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