Not many asthma sufferers come to see me specifically for this condition. I do see many patients affected by stress, anxiety and depression. Some of them also suffer from asthma. A few of these patients told me that their asthma improved significantly following acupuncture treatment. I used to get surprised by this, as studies on acupuncture and asthma provide mixed results.
I think I found a link explaining why asthma improves when anxiety is reduced with acupuncture. If you are prone to anxiety, your chances of developing asthma are tripled. This is the conclusion of a study on 4000 adults published in Journal of Allergy this month. Chronic stress alters hormone levels, which can lead to inflamed airways. Acupuncture has been shown to regulate stress hormones; it is an effective treatment for anxiety.
This contributes to understanding the pathophysiology of asthma. But it also explains how acupuncture may help asthma sufferers. It may be the reason why some acupuncture treatment protocols work better than others; and help to design studies which could actually provide some hard evidence for the practice.