COVID treatment is the major aspect of discussions in today’s world. Acupuncture for COVID treatment appeared to be an effective approach for many patients. With the spread of COVID-19 (also called the novel coronavirus) and attracting global attention, some people may be wondering if acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can play a role in treating them, while vaccine or other Western treatment is in full swing. For example, in China, since the end of 2019, the country has dispatched more than 2,000 TCM workers to Hubei (a province at the center of the virus outbreak). “By coordinating the resources of traditional Chinese and Western medicine, we strive to improve treatment, assess and reduce the number of deaths as much as possible in order to effectively protect people’s safety and health,” said Wang Hesheng, deputy head of China’s National Health Commission.
But China has not always been so enthusiastic about TCM and also about the use of acupuncture for COVID treatment. In fact, the rulers of the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) issued a decree banning all acupuncture practices at the time because they felt it was inferior to the drugs introduced by invading Western cultures. The second ban was enacted in the 1920s by the Kuomintang (nationalist) government which banned all modalities of Chinese medicine. It was only after the communist government took power in the 1940s that Mao Tse-tung advocated the use of both Chinese and Western treatments. Acupuncture then played an important role in the health care of Chinese people and soldiers during their war with Japan and other internal struggles.
How can ancient medicine help treat a new disease?
In TCM, practitioners look for patterns of symptoms. In the case of the new coronavirus, the symptom pattern of fever, cough, and shortness of breath relates to the lung indicating an imbalance. Everything we experience today can be traced back to a symptom pattern that reflects an imbalance in the body, and once we understand this, we can choose acupuncture points and other healing modalities (e.g., Gua Sha, cupping, moxibustion, infrared heat therapy) which can help restore balance and in turn the health of affected organ systems. There are also herbal formulas that, when used alongside acupuncture for COVID treatment, can help open the airways, treat coughs, and strengthen the body. These modalities are all designed to work together to improve overall health and well-being.
The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 12, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has now infected much of the world’s population, causing widespread illness, hospitalization, and death. To date, there is no cure for this highly contagious and life-threatening disease; therefore, finding potential treatments is an urgent task. In its report, the WHO-China Joint Mission praised the non-pharmacological measures of the “Chinese model” that includes the use of acupuncture for COVID treatment in the fight against this disease. While traditional Chinese herbal medicine has been recommended for the treatment of COVID-19, acupuncture for COVID treatment and moxibustion have been suggested for use in the rehabilitation phase. The effect of acupuncture for COVID treatment, along with the use of herbal medicine to treat patients with acute COVID-19, has yet to be widely reported. This case report is in line with the CARE Guidelines; this is the case of an elderly patient with severe COVID-19 who was successfully treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in addition to standard care at Leishenshan (literally, Thunder God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan, China.
Acupuncture for COVID treatment, especially in the severe stage, was underused, undervalued, and underreported both in China and the West. One of the possible reasons for this phenomenon is that acupuncture has not been adopted as a first-line treatment, due to the fear that patients could transmit this disease to health care providers through prolonged close contact. In China, acupuncturists are a type of physicians and they are eligible to treat patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, using integrative therapies including Acupuncture for COVID treatment. In the West, especially in the United States (US), limited by law, the majority of Chinese medicine providers are licensed acupuncturists (LAC) and are not eligible to directly treat COVID-19 patients, especially in the hospital COVID wards, due to legal barriers.
How acupuncture for COVID treatment works
Acupuncture is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that is widely used to treat inflammatory diseases. During the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, acupuncture was used as an adjunct treatment for COVID-19 in China. However, the mechanism underlying acupuncture for COVID treatment remains unclear. Based on bioinformatics/topology, this article systematically reveals the multi-target mechanisms of COVID-19 acupuncture therapy through text mining, bioinformatics, network topology, etc. Two active complexes produced after acupuncture and 180 protein targets were identified. A total of 522 acupuncture-related genetic ontology terms for COVID-19 have been identified and 61 pathways reviewed based on the Kyoto Genome and Genomic Encyclopedia.
Findings suggest that acupuncture for COVID treatment was associated with suppression of inflammatory stress, improvement of immunity, and regulation of nervous system function, including activation of neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, calcium signaling lane, cancer trail, viral carcinogenesis, Staphylococcus aureus contamination, etc. The study also showed that acupuncture for COVID treatment may have additional benefits for patients suffering from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. This study is the first to reveal multiple synergistic mechanisms of acupuncture for COVID treatment. Acupuncture may play an active role in the treatment of COVID-19 and deserves further promotion and application. These findings may help address this pressing issue the world is currently facing.
The effectiveness of acupuncture for COVID treatment
The results of research performed by Chinese doctors suggest that acupuncture for COVID treatment was associated with suppressing inflammatory stress, enhancing immunity, and regulating nervous system function, including activation of neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway, cancer pathway, viral carcinogenesis, Staphylococcus aureus infection, etc. The study also found that acupuncture may have additional benefits for COVID-19 patients with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Our study revealed for the first time the multiple synergistic mechanisms of acupuncture in COVID-19. Acupuncture for COVID treatment can play an active role in the fight against this serious disease and deserves further promotion and application. These findings can help solve this pressing problem the world is currently facing.
Acupuncture for COVID treatment in Philadelphia
At Philadelphia Holistic Clinic we often see people who are perfectly healthy and those with weakened immune systems (post-chemo, asthmatic, elderly, pregnant). Both categories of patients frequently seek weekly preventive and maintenance treatment before and during the winter months. In fact, many of our patients come weekly throughout the year, from before the start of flu season in October to allergy season in April. After that, they come in for maintenance maybe 1-2x a month. As part of this ongoing treatment, we sometimes recommend herbal immunity-boosting formulas for patients to have in case they are needed. But for anyone considering trying TCM to combat flu-like symptoms or to boost immunity during high-risk times, we recommend starting with treatments 1-3 per week as acupuncture is a cumulative treatment. Every time we stimulate the immune system to heal itself, we help the body to strengthen itself. The higher the frequency, the more opportunity for healing.
In no way this post recommends ignoring any CDC regulations or your medical doctor’s prescriptions for COVID treatment.
Here in the United States, we can only use acupuncture as secondary and additional support to the treatment of COVID, however, this ancient Chinese method already proved its effectiveness. When performed by a well-trained specialist, acupuncture is safe and painless.
If you are looking for acupuncture to stimulate your immune system and reduce the chance of illness and severity of symptoms contact Philadelphia Holistic Clinic (267) 403-3085 and schedule an appointment with our licensed acupuncturist Yelena Galanter – classic acupuncture practitioner.PA License