Marieke Pieterman, L.Ac.
Acupuncture for the common flu and cold? Yes, you heard right …
By Marieke A. Pieterman
Most people think acupuncture is only for pain, but it is for so much more – even the common cold and flu.
I recently came across this research study that looked at one acupuncture point to reduce fevers in people with the common cold, and I thought it’s worth sharing.
TWO TYPES OF COLDS
In Chinese medicine, as acupuncturists, we distinguish between two types of common cold, a wind-cold invasion or a wind-heat invasion in order to know how to treat the client. In a wind-cold invasion, this common cold will present with severe aversion to cold with mild fever, no sweating, coughing, headaches, dull-achy joint pain, nasal congestion with clear phlegm, and a particular type of pulse and coat on the tongue.
In a wind-heat invasion, this common cold will present with a mild aversion to cold with high fever, sweating, coughing, dry, sore and red throat, headaches, nasal congestion with yellow and turbid phlegm, and a particular type of pulse and coat on the tongue.
RESTORING BODY TEMPERATURE
In a clinical trial, researchers at Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture reduced fevers, restoring the body to its normal temperature.
In this research study, 261 participants were randomly assigned to either the acupuncture group or the control group. They met both the Western medicine and the Chinese medicine diagnostic criteria for a common cold, had an axilla (armpit) temperature of 39°C or higher, and were aged between 15-65.
The group that would receive acupuncture for their fever had 52 wind-cold invasion type participants and 81 wind-heat invasion type participants. The acupuncture group received acupuncture and electro-stimulation (e-stim) on only one point, Dazhui GV-14, for 20 minutes. One electrode from the e-stim was placed on the handle of the acupuncture needle and the other electrode was held in the hand of the research participant.
In the control group, there were 52 wind-cold invasion type participants and 76 wind-heat invasion type participants. The control group received a 2 ml injection of the antipyretic (anti-fever) medication, Antondine.
The researchers measured both the time it took for the initial reduction of fever by 0.5°C and the time that it took to restore the body back to normal body temperature. Body temperature was recorded before the electroacupuncture and the medication injection and then at 0.5 hour, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, 16 hours, and 24 hours after the treatment.
The results overall found that the acupuncture group significantly outperformed the control group in reducing fevers. After the treatment of either acupuncture or medication, the time was noted when the first drop of 0.5°C temperature was achieved.
The acupuncture group achieved this drop within 1.42 hours, while the control medication group achieved this in 3.44 hours. After the treatment of either acupuncture or medication, the body temperature at each of the 11 observation time points in the acupuncture group was lower than the respective medication control group. Acupuncture significantly reduced fevers and restored the body to a normal temperature of 37°C in 75.9 percent of the cases, significantly more effective than the control medication group.
Within the cold sub-groups, acupuncture and e-stim on GV-14 revealed an even greater therapeutic effect in participants with high fever in the wind-heat invasion group versus the participants with a mild fever in the wind-cold invasion group.
Cold and flu season is already upon us. Are you ready? Caught off guard and are already suffering from a cold or the flu? Then call Holistic Heart Acupuncture and schedule your appointment today for acupuncture and Chinese herbs. We want you to get better soon!
Acupuncture Point That Reduces Fevers Confirmed