One type of alternative and complementary modality for pulmonary fibrosis is acupuncture

Pulmonary fibrosis is the thickening and scarring of lung tissue and is a longstanding or chronic disease. The healthy lung tissue is replaced with scar tissue causing the lungs to harden and swell. It becomes more and more hard to breathe as the condition worsens. Pulmonary fibrosis can come about due to a number of factors including radiation therapies, lung disease, and airborne toxin exposure. Acupuncture is one modality known to help relieve pulmonary fibrosis symptoms.


One type of alternative and complementary modality for pulmonary fibrosis is acupuncture. This Eastern medical procedure involves the activation of acupuncture points on the body with the use of thin and long acupuncture needles to help alleviate pain and promote good health in the body. You need to seek advice first from your doctor or other healthcare provider before coming in to an acupuncture clinic to seek treatment for your pulmonary fibrosis.


There are a number of side effects related to acupuncture. This is true particularly when the needles are not inserted properly or inserted on incorrect acupuncture points. The incorrect way of inserting a needle can lead to a puncturing of an organ or pain. If an acupuncturist uses needles that are contaminated, then you are at risk of getting an infection. To lessen these side effects, you need to seek treatment from an acupuncturist who is qualified and well experienced to tackle conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis.


Symptoms that are typical of pulmonary fibrosis include aching of the joints and muscles, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, fatigue, dry cough and chest pain. Pulmonary fibrosis complications may include lung cancer, pneumothorax, chronic low levels of oxygen in the blood, and respiratory failure.

Conventional Treatment

There is no cure with regards to pulmonary fibrosis, and no known conventional therapies have proven beneficial in slowing the progress of the disease. The patient’s quality of life and the improvement of his/her symptoms are the aims of both conventional and alternative therapies. Doctors usually prescribe corticosteroids to help minimize lung inflammation. Supplemental oxygen is often recommended if the patient shows low levels of blood oxygen. Lung transplantation may be a viable option if the patient suffers from a severe form of pulmonary fibrosis.


Davis Acupuncture Clinic
2043 Anderson Rd
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 400-1239

Acupuncture Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis

Although ably managed by Western medicine, cystic fibrosis (CF) is an issue with symptoms several individuals complain of because of the resiliency of these symptoms against traditional regimens such as respiratory medications, physiotherapy, and antibiotics. One alternative form of modality is acupuncture that can offer alleviation for many of these symptoms.

CF almost always affects the abdomen and the lungs, resulting in abundance of mucus or phlegm in these organs causing then to malfunction. Phlegm can be produced by the lungs, which retards the expansion of the lungs restricting the conveyance of oxygen into the bloodstream. The digestive system and abdomen have difficulty digesting nutrients from food and this causes the fall of the person’s health, particularly his weight and levels of energy as well as weaken the immune system making the body prone to infection and bugs.

TCM or traditional Chinese medicine interprets the effects of CF this way:

  1. Kidney Qi Deficiency: Inside a person’s body is a vital energy known as Qi or chi and without this energy the body dies. Qi has two sources.
  • Yuan Qi – this type of Qi comes with us the day we are born and it can get used up during our lifetime. Yuan Qi is stored in the kidney.
  • Postnatal Qi – We constantly produce this Qi everyday. It is produced from air and imbibed by the lungs. Postnatal Qi can also come from the food we eat that is imbibed by the abdomen.

These two kinds of qi are the reasons we function and live. Now when CF develops in the body the body experiences problems imbibing postnatal Qi. This forces the body to use up Yuan Qi resulting in kidney Qi deficiency since yuan Qi is stored in the kidney. Since the kidney also governs fluid regulation in the body, a kidney deficiency will mean not enough fluid circulating in the body and this can lead to too much heat accumulating in the body.

  1. Lung Deficiency: TCM practitioners believe that the lung produces wei qi circulating throughout the body acting in the same way as the immune system protecting the body from external pathogens. These pathogens can include factors such as heat and cold invasion and not just infections and bugs. When lung has energy deficiency, these pathogens can infiltrate the body causing phlegm production to increase; cold pathogen may produce phlegm that is white while heat pathogen causes the phlegm to turn yellow.
  1. Yin and Yang: the body needs to have a proper balance of yin and yang for it to become healthy. Yin is passive and sleep, night, dark and cold are associated with it; yang, on the other hand, is active and symbolizes awake, day, bright and hot. When kidney and lung experiences deficiency the, deficiency in yin is always the case. This causes an imbalance in yin and yang. If yang is in preponderance, you might suffer from yellow phlegm, feeling hot or lack of sleep and the like.

Patients with CF can manifest the following symptoms based on the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine:

  1. Kidney deficiency – this leads to lower energy levels, fatigue and a hot sensation because of fluid deficiency. Most CF patients have this basic problem.
  1. Lung deficiency – though not occurring often as much as kidney deficiency, lung deficiency is caused by external heat pathogen as well as bug invasion and phlegm.
  1. Yin deficiency – sensation of heat internally. The patient experiences difficulty cooling down and has a problem sleeping. The tongue is observed to have patchy spots on its body.

Acupuncture Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis

A CF patient being treated with acupuncture may need to undergo treatment for all the three aforementioned deficiencies. Acupuncture treatment would often start by treating the patient’s basic problem, and the lungs, if required. This can help boost the energy levels of the patient and also decrease phlegm. The acupuncturist can also boost the patient’s yin to enable the patient to sleep much better and stay cool. If bugs or too much heat exist in the body, then the patient needs to stay cool. Lastly, acupuncture can be used to alleviate parts of the body that experiences soreness and local tightness particularly in the neck, shoulders and chest.

After some sessions of treatment, some patients may see their energy levels increase, their lung capacity improve and the phlegm dispelled. Sleeping patterns can get better with acupuncture and the ability to cool as well as a good overall feeling of health can be experienced again by the patient.

It is not likely that acupuncture can cure CF at all or resolve the fundamental reason why CF arises; however, it can provide the patient with significant symptomatic relief. Some patients with CF may also be having other health issues. This and their own unique constitution should also be considered by the acupuncturist in order to come up with a plan of treatment required for their patient’s own specific needs.


Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.


Why acupuncture can be an effective procedure in treating sciatica?

Once a person knows how sciatica occurs, he/she starts to understand why acupuncture can be an effective procedure in treating it. Some of us are aware that sciatica is a symptom resulting from a pressure impinging on the sciatic nerve. This pressure causes pain down the back or side of the leg that can radiate as far down as the ankle. This impingement or pressure can be due to a combination of different factors:

  1. Degenerative joint disease, a herniated disc, or other issues with the structure of the spine – they all can bear pressure on the nerves that are bundled together to form what is known as the sciatic nerve.
  2. Inflammation that causes more irritation and pressure to the sciatic nerve.
  3. Spasms of the different muscles where the sciatic nerve extends through squeezing the nerves (particularly the piriformis muscle). There may be other muscles that spasm around the spine that can increase the pressure caused by a bulging disc.

Acupuncture for treating sciatica pain in Marlton is effective in addressing the last two causes of sciatica. Still, even if a herniated disc is involved, the muscle spasm and the secondary inflammation can also be mitigated by acupuncture, and the pressure can also be decreased to help lessen the severity of the pain.

The nerves become more sensitive when a bulging disc presses on it. Additional pressure coming from tight muscles that bears on those same nerves will eventually lead to sciatic pain. We can consider these tight muscles as “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Therefore, while acupuncture maybe unable to repair a bulging disc, it can help decrease the pain and more importantly the spasmodic muscles. These spasmodic muscles are the ones adding pressure on the nerves that bring about the pain in the first place.