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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
May 2012

Acupuncture May Reduce COPD Symptoms

Acupuncture may reduce symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study.

COPD is a type of lung disease that involves damage or obstruction to the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. COPD is an overall term referring to a group of chronic lung conditions, most commonly including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and possibly asthma or asthmatic bronchitis. While chronic bronchitis and emphysema may occur separately, it is common for patients to have both diseases at the same time.

In a new study, researchers randomly assigned 68 COPD patients to receive acupuncture or placebo acupuncture once weekly for 12 weeks. Shortness of breath was evaluated as the main outcome measure using the Borg scale following a six minute walk test.

The researchers found that after 12 weeks, shortness of breath significantly improved for patients in the acupuncture group when compared to the placebo group. Furthermore, patients in the acupuncture group were able to walk significantly further during the walk test at the end of the 12 weeks.

The authors concluded that acupuncture may be beneficial for COPD patients by reducing shortness of breath. Additional research in this area is warranted.

Many other integrative therapies have been studied for their potential benefits in COPD patients. A combination of acupressure and massage may reduce dyspnea (labored breathing) and anxiety in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who use prolonged mechanical ventilatory support. There is also early evidence that suggests aromatherapy may aid mucus clearance in COPD. Further research is necessary.

For more information about integrative therapies for COPD, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.

For more information about Acupuncture, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.

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  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Suzuki M, Muro S, Ando Y, et al. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Acupuncture in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Arch Intern Med. 2012;():1-9. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1233
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited.