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Acupuncture treatment for Cough

Acupuncture sees the cough as the disease caused by 2 cause, which are external and internal cause.
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A cough is a sudden and often repetitively occurring, protective reflex, which helps to clear the large breathing passages from fluids, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound.1








Cough is the symptom itself. However, other symptoms may also appear. Symptoms that accompany the cough depend on the cause, whether there is an infectious or non-infectious cause. Symptoms that come along with the infectious cause would be fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, nausea, and vomiting. A non-infectious cause will show symptoms like wheezing, coughs that routinely worsen when an individual goes to certain locations or do certain activities; or coughs that improve with inhalers or allergy medications.2



Coughing usually indicates the presence of a disease. Most of the time, irregular coughing is caused by a respiratory tract infection but can also be triggered by choking, smoking, air pollution, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, post-nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, lung tumors, heart failure and some medications. However, coughing is a normal condition, persistent cough could be a sign of a serious medical problem. Coughing can then be categorized into acute and chronic. It is said as acute if lasts less than three weeks; while, it is said to be chronic if it lasts longer than 8 weeks. The acute cough is mainly caused by common cold, flu, irritants, and pneumonia. Whereas, the chronic cough is caused by allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and post nasal drip.3



Related Acupuncture Points :

LI-18, LU-1, LU-4, LU-5, LU-9, SP-18, SP-19, SP-20, ST-11, ST-12, ST-13.

Acupuncture sees coughing as a disease originated from 2 causes, external and internal. External causes include the invasion of outside forces to the body such as wind. Internal causes include the dysfunction of an internal organ, which are phlegm-dampness cough, liver-fire cough, and yin-deficiency cough. A wind-cold, which is regarded as external cause will cause a choking cough, scratchy throat with thin white phlegm, aversion to cold, headache and stuffy runny nose. Whereas, internally-caused phlegm-dampness is originated from a deficiency of the lungs and spleen, which in turn cause the excess production of phlegm and dampness.4

An investigation finds acupuncture more effective for the treatment of chronic coughing than drug therapy itself. The efficacy of acupuncture was tested versus methoxyphenamine, a bronchodilator. The acupuncture points tested were limited to the Lung-Taiyin and Stomach-Yangming acupuncture channels. The results stated that acupuncture produced significantly greater patient outcomes. As a result, acupuncture is more effective for the treatment of post-infectious chronic coughing than methoxyphenamine. Acupuncture produced a 90% total treatment effective rate and drug therapy produced an 80% total treatment effective rate.

The primary acupoints recommended for treatment are the following: LU-10, LU-5, LU-6, LU-7, ST-25, ST-36, ST-40. The needle time retention is suggested for 30 minutes. One 30 minute acupuncture session is to be conducted per day. The entire course of treatment should comprise 10 sessions. Administering acupuncture to these acupoints improves qi and blood circulation, which supports healing coughing and asthma, and improves lung health.5


  1. Cough – wikipedia.org – 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cough
  2. Cough Symptoms – emedicinehealth.com – 2016, http://www.emedicinehealth.com/coughs/page2_em.htm
  3. Diseases and Conditions : Cough – mayoclinic.org – 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/cough/basics/causes/sym-20050846
  4. Chronic Cough – okanaganacupuncture.com – 2017, http://okanaganacupuncture.com/chronic-cough/
  5. Acupuncture Relieves Chronic Coughing For Adults and Children – healthcmi.com – 2016, http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1652-acupuncture-relieves-chronic-coughing-for-adults-and-children