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Pediatric Asthma

Incidence rate

10% of US kids are thought to be diagnosed with Pediatric Asthma and 80-90% of these kids have their first symptoms by the time they are 4 or 5 years of age.

What is Asthma?

As one type of allergy, asthma is a hyper-reactive immune response. But in this case the response is severe enough that it destroys actual tissue and structure. Here you have bronchial smooth muscle spasms, airway swelling and inflammation, and the copious production of mucus that obstructs air passage. Symptoms include: wheezing, coughs worse at night and in the morning, chest tightness, shortness of breath. Asthma is often triggered by air or food allergens, environmental irritants, exercise, emotional stress, medications, etc.


Conventional Western treatment consists of bronchodilators and inhaled steroids. While steroids are very effective anti-inflammatories, their long-term use can lead to growth and immune system suppression. Bronchodilators like Advair and Symbicort which contain salmeterol, are NOT for use during acute attacks and though they are designed for chronic use, their long-term and regular use has been shown to increase the severity of asthma attacks and can even lead to heart conditions. Albuterol, another bronchodilator, designed for immediate acute relief during an attack can be a life-saver. But be aware of the possible side effects: nervousness, tremors, dry irritated mouth and throat, coughing, dizziness, headaches, insomnia, nausea, chest pains and irregular heart beats.

Check with your pediatrician about Vitamin D. Recent research has shown that kids with asthma are deficient in Vitamin D. The most reliable way to increase Vitamin D levels is through 20 minutes of sun exposure for 20 minutes a day, just long enough until skin turns slightly pink. Avoid getting sunburned. Using sunscreen can interfere with Vitamin D production in that sunscreen blocks both UV A and B with UV B being necessary for Vit D production. After 20 minutes, Vit D production maximizes.

Other recommendations include mild to moderate exercise in between attacks and maintaining a healthy diet (as listed on my Treating Kids page) and lifestyle changes that support a strong immune system.

Ideal for self-care at home is acupressure. It is not only therapeutically effective, but it is also a good opportunity to engage with your child in a different manner, with a loving and intentional touch. Gently rub the following points:

During acute attacks:

Calm Wheezing: massage vigorously the top of the spine where it meets the shoulders, just next to the most prominent vertebrae
Massage upper back between the shoulder blades
Massage the center of the chest between the nipples.
Massage inner forearms, halfway between the wrist and elbow
St 36: major immune point.

For prevention in between attacks, use the Miriam Lee Tune-Up, rubbing each point in order for 5 minutes each, twice a day. This is the treatment I use in my office to strengthen digestion, boost the immune system and treat allergies and the common cold.

Spleen 6: inside lower leg just above the ankle
Stomach 36: just below the knee, in the depression lateral to the tibial crest
Large Intestine 11: in the depression at the lateral elbow
Lung 7: just proximal to the wrist behind the thumb
Large Intestine 4: in the webbing between the index finger and the thumb.

When you and your child come to see me in my office, I prescribe Chinese Medicinal Herbs to improve respiratory function, decrease inflammation, clear phlegm, repair any damaged bronchial tissue, clear any lingering lung infections, and strengthen digestion and overall immunity. I will also use acupuncture as needed for acute episodes and symptomatic relief.


With asthma the overall goal is to free the respiratory system from any unnecessary irritants like poor food choices or environmental contaminants and then clean up the damage. When we can decrease the severity of each attack and increase the time in between each one, then your child stands a better chance of developing a stronger and healthier immune system. And just like with allergies, start with better food choices and use Western and Eastern medicine as you need for additional support and help.


© Jordan Hoffman, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

The information presented here is not medical advice, is not intended as medical advice, and is intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of this information.


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2001 S. Barrington Ave. Ste 116 Los Angeles, CA 90025  l  21201 Victory Blvd. Ste. 135 Canoga Park, CA 91303  l  310-729-9061  l  © Jordan Hoffman Acupuncture 2010
This site and any articles on this site are not medical advice and are not intended as medical advice and are intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and acupuncture and are not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of the information on this site and any articles.