Bronchial asthma is a chronic lung condition, often diagnosed as a child or in early teen years, often caused by an allergic reaction. It is a condition where triggers such as smoking or air pollution cause the airway to swell and become inflamed. Although allergic asthma is one of the most common types, these spastic attacks can also be brought on by exercise or acid reflux. In all types of asthma, the smooth muscle in the airways begins to spasm and swell causing difficulty breathing, coughing fits and/or wheezing. For many people modern medicine can help minimize the number of attacks and the use of steroids can help manage attacks that do happen. Unfortunately, many of the medications used by modern medicine have their own side effects. Many people have started looking at other ways to manage their asthma.
With many allergies, the best prevention is to avoid triggers. Unfortunately, asthmatic triggers such as air pollution, exercise, and stress, are often difficult to avoid. In acupuncture, we look at these symptoms from a slightly different perspective. Breathing is the act of sharing air with the rest of the universe. It is a constant reminder that we are just a portion of the bigger picture and it is the connection we share with every other living being. When breathing gets difficult, we are losing not only a vital substance that keeps us alive, but also our connection with the rest of the world. This relationship is part of what makes the Lungs a correspondence of the Metal phase and what makes asthma a Metal disharmony.
As with any dis-ease or disharmony, symptoms and presentations change for each person and in each situation. So, although asthma is a Metal disharmony, it can be a disharmony with any one of the other 4 elemental phases, each with their own distinguishing factors. The most common disharmony I see in asthma is between Water & Metal. The Water Elemental Phase is the part of us that holds onto our ancestral history - our DNA. If we can imagine that there is a dense pool of DNA, in the form of water, in our lower abdomen,it can affect the rest of the body by being a small fountain and misting the rest of our body. This misting effect helps the air from our lungs to condense and fall to lower aspects of the body to be used as nourishment. When this relationship begins to break down we are no longer able to take a deep breath since the air in our lungs is not condensing and dispersing. By strengthening this relationship we can help minimize asthmatic attacks.