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Acupuncture & COVID: Acute Phase

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to address all sorts of colds and viruses. The research on this and related symptoms is endless. Below are summaries and citations for reference, on studies specific to the covid outbreak. I tried to focus on ones that was super interesting or unique instead of simply proving over and over that there is a point for everything.

  • In one case report, the patient was treated with Western medicine, and was also provided acupressure, yoga, and Ayurveda. It demonstrated how an integrative approach can not only easy physical symptoms, but also reduce the negative psychological factors associated with getting the virus.

  • A systematic review of integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine along with Western care, showed to increase the cure rate, improve chest CT's, and prevented moderate cases from developing into severe cases, and lowering body temperature.

  • I came across a study that observed an auricular marker (spot on the ear) that can indicate when one is covid positive. The study was done to find a way to use auricular acupuncture for anesthetic purposes instead of using more medication. While these methods have been done for years, the team was looking for something specific to covid. They found that all of their patients had a swelling on the tragus of their ear. This section corelated to the acupuncture point for immunity defense to viral infections, fever and diarrhea. Stimulation of this point reduced the need for patients to go on ventilators and retuned to normal breathing at a faster rate. Fascinating and interesting, but this study was only researched on 34 patients and needs further research and evidence. Pictures are available here if you are curious.

  • One study broke the research down into a multi-phase treatment using Chinese Medicine depending on the development of symptoms. Each stage with its various symptoms and channel involvement call for different treatment strategies. This article explained acupuncture helps by reducing inflammation, inhibiting the virus, and supporting the immune system. This is due to the fact that your practitioner listens and understands the subtle nuance of each symptom in relation to who you are.

  • Another study broke down very specifically, the methodology of an acupuncturist and different treatment strategies that worked best. What I thought was most interesting about this was the authors' emphasis on a multi faceted approach. Yes, we treat with needles and moxa, but we also can advice on body movements and Qi Gong, along with various massage techniques, and something really huge; personalization. As many of you know an acupuncturist takes the time to really listen to who you are and what your experience is. This individualized attention along with empathetic touch (not being poked and prodded) has its place in the healing model.


Gong, Y. B., Yang, Z. L., Liu, Y., Zhang, Y., Jiang, K., Shi, X. J., Deng, Y. H., Zhang, X., Wu, W., Zhang, C. Y., & Zhou, J. (2020). Two cases of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treated with the combination of acupuncture and medication in bedridden patients2. World journal of acupuncture-moxibustion, 30(3), 171–174.

Liu, W. H., Guo, S. N., Wang, F., & Hao, Y. (2020). Understanding of guidance for acupuncture and moxibustion interventions on COVID-19 (Second edition) issued by CAAM. World journal of acupuncture-moxibustion, 30(1), 1–4.

Lyu, M., Fan, G., Xiao, G., Wang, T., Xu, D., Gao, J., Ge, S., Li, Q., Ma, Y., Zhang, H., Wang, J., Cui, Y., Zhang, J., Zhu, Y., & Zhang, B. (2021). Traditional Chinese medicine in COVID-19. Acta pharmaceutica Sinica. B, 11(11), 3337–3363.

Tiwari, S., Tiwari, S., Sapkota, N., & Sapkota, B. (2021). The necessity of integrated medicine to treat SARS-Cov-2/COVID-19 patient: A case report. Clinical case reports, 9(11), e05041.

Volf, N., Salques, V., & Lassaux, A. (2020). An Auricular Marker for COVID-19. Medical acupuncture, 32(4), 174–175. Yin, X., Cai, S. B., Tao, L. T., Chen, L. M., Zhang, Z. D., Xiao, S. H., Fan, A. Y., & Zou, X. (2021). Recovery of a patient with severe COVID-19 by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine adjuvant to standard care. Journal of integrative medicine, 19(5), 460–466.

Zhou, L. P., Wang, J., Xie, R. H., Pakhale, S., Krewski, D., Cameron, D. W., & Wen, S. W. (2021). The Effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine as an Auxiliary Treatment for COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 27(3), 225–237.

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