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When considering the points to use in acupuncture it is important to consider that actual asthma attacks are associated with deficiencies of energy in the channels of Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys. When a child is wheezing this energy – known as ‘Chi’ – is prevented from making its normal journey along these channels because of the formation of phlegm and dampness in the lungs. Acupuncture treatment is aimed at relieving wheezing by encouraging the energy to overcome these blockages thus ensuring an unobstructed flow of Chi.
No child I have ever met likes the thought of needles being stuck in them and Clare was no exception. I reassured her that the needles are very fine and not like those used for injections. Most children have only ever experienced hypodermic needles for their vaccinations and these have to be larger so the immunization fluid can pass down the middle of them. Acupuncture needles do not need this property, so they are incredibly fine, producing virtually no pain when they pass through the skin.
To treat Clare’s asthma I used the following points, which I have found to be most effective. There is one needle inserted at the entry of each channel, the point in the hand being on the top surface between the thumb and first finger and the one on the foot being between the first and second toes. Needling the channels closer to the lungs involves the insertion of a needle at a point quite high on the back and also on the chest below the collar bone and another on the arm below where the triceps muscle covers the shoulder. There is one further point just below the knee which can generally reinforce the flow of energy through the body and it is beneficial to needle this as well. This makes only six points in all, which isn’t too many. This is one reason for always seeing an experienced therapist; there are over 50 suggested places to stick in the needles, so an unqualified acupuncturist may use far more points than are really necessary.
Initially, while Clare’s asthma was unstable, I treated her once a week. As with conventional medicine I monitored her progress using a peak flow meter. Her usual level was 300 but with this run of wheezing episodes it was hovering around 220. With weekly therapy over five weeks this peak flow rose back to its normal level. I reduced the treatment at that stage to once a month and now some time later all she has is a reinforcing dose every three months.

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