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Immunomodulatory Effects of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Allergic Asthma

Published on 25th May 2017

Stefanie Joos, Claus Schott, Hua Zou, Volker Daniel, and Eike Martin. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. September 2007, 6(6): 519-525. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2000.6.519

Abstract

Objective: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture is a suitable treatment for complex chronic diseases such as bronchial asthma. In a randomized, controlled study we investigated immunologic effects of Chinese acupuncture on patients with allergic asthma.

Patients and Methods: The effects of acupuncture treatment given according to the principles of TCM (TCM group, n = 20) were compared with those of acupuncture treatment using points not specific for asthma (control group, n = 18). All patients were treated 12 times for 30 minutes over a time period of 4 weeks. Patients' general well-being and several peripheral blood parameters (eosinophils, lymphocyte subpopulations, cytokines, in vitro lymphocyte proliferation) were determined before and after acupuncture treatment.

Results: In the TCM group, significantly more patients indicated an improvement in general well-being (79% in the TCM group versus 47% in the control group; p = 0.049) after acupuncture treatment. The following changes were found in the TCM group: within the lymphocyte subpopulations the CD3+ cells (p = 0.005) and CD4+ cells (p = 0.014) increased significantly. There were also significant changes in cytokine concentrations: interleukin (IL)-6 (p = 0.026) and IL-10 (p = 0.001) decreased whereas IL-8 (p = 0.050) rose significantly. Additionally, the in vitro lymphocyte proliferation rate increased significantly (p = 0.035) while the number of eosinophils decreased from 4.4% to 3.3% after acupuncture (p > 0.05). The control group, however, showed no significant changes apart from an increase in the CD4+ cells (p = 0.012).

Conclusion: The results imply that asthma patients benefit from acupuncture treatment given in addition to conventional therapy. Furthermore, acupuncture performed in accordance with the principles of TCM showed significant immune-modulating effects.

 

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