Acupuncture adopted in China's updated COVID-19 guidelines
Published: Mar 17, 2022 05:41 PM
A patient receives acupuncture treatment at the Mediterranean Regional Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine (MRCTCM) in Paola, Malta, April 27, 2021. The MRCTCM was officially established in 1994 as a partnership between the Chinese and Maltese governments.(Photo: Xinhua)

A patient receives acupuncture treatment. Photo: Xinhua

Acupuncture has been introduced in China's updated COVID-19 prevention and control guidelines. It's effective in treating COVID-19 patients who demonstrate either mild or severe symptoms. 

The application of different acupuncture points is recommended for different types of patients. For example, the acupuncture point "hegu" can be used to treat those with mild symptoms by promoting blood circulation and clearing heat. Acupoints "kongzui" is among the acupoints for the treatment of common patients with asthma and hemoptysis, the ninth version of China's COVID-19 prevention and control guidelines released on Tuesday said.

Zhang Boli, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and head of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), said the official adoption of acupuncture within China's updated COVID-19 manual provides a powerful guidance for the treatment of COVID-19 at home and abroad. 

In early phase of combating COVID-19, acupuncture was merely an auxiliary method to treat patients. But experiences of treating patients in Wuhan, Hubei Province and other provinces has shown that the method is effective, Liu Baoyan, the president with the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies, told Science and Technology Daily. 

Zhang said the reasons why acupuncture works on COVID-19 is that stimulating the acupoints dispels pestilence, improves self-protection ability of the viscera and organs so as to alleviate the damage caused by the virus to the organs.

Generally speaking, using different treatment plans on patients with different symptoms, acupuncture can help improve lung function, improve innate immunity and balance anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory factors in patients' body.

Some private clinics in the US have been using acupuncture to treat COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and have been successful, Zhang said. He hopes to launch clinical research on this with scholars from the University of California in Los Angeles and Los Angeles Acupuncture Society.

Acupuncture is used more than 10 million times and 4 million times per year in the US and the UK, respectively. Doctors in 183 countries around the world are qualified to use acupuncture for clinical treatment, statistics showed.

China has been using TCM to treat COVID-19 patients as it demonstrates advantages in improving patients' symptoms, and reducing the number of severe cases and deaths. It plays positive roles in disease prevention, treatment and recovery, Zhang said. 

No matter how the virus mutates, the effectiveness of TCM won't be affected. The principle of TCM treatment is not aimed at the virus itself, instead it works to improve the human immune system, so that the strong resistance and immunity of the patient can defeat the virus, Zhang explained.

Throughout the pandemic, TCM products were sent to some 10 countries and regions in need, and TCM experts went to some 28 countries and regions to guide local epidemic work.

Global Times