Acupuncture for COVID-19 Loss of smell and taste


Acupuncture demonstrates clinical efficacy for postviral recovery from loss of smell. COVID-19 (coronavirus) patients often experience decreased olfaction, with a median return of the senses of taste and smell within eight days. However, long-term impacts on taste (tasting) and olfaction have been reported in cases of COVID-19. Research on the ability of acupuncture to promote the restoration of olfaction indicates that it is a potentially effective treatment modality for the relief of anosmia, dysosmia, parosmia, ‘hyposmia, dysgeusia and ageusia in postviral recovery.

COVID-19 presents challenges as the completion of most of the current research is pending. Looking at previous investigations, a controlled clinical trial published in the Journal of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery finds acupuncture to be effective in restoring olfaction in patients with dysosmia (smell dysfunction) due to viral infections. [1] Notably, patients who recovered from acupuncture did not respond to conventional pharmacological treatment. The results indicate that further studies are warranted.

The study called in an expert acupuncturist. The acupuncture treatments lasted 30 minutes and the acupuncture points used were as follows:

  • GV16 (Fengfu)
  • GV20 (Baihui)
  • LI20 (Yingxiang)
  • LU7 (Lieque)
  • LU9 (Taiyuang)
  • ST36 (Zusanli)
  • KD3 (Taixi)

All patients received multiple acupuncture treatments over a 10 week period. Statistical analysis reveals significant improvement in patients receiving acupuncture compared to the control group. At HealthCMi, we would like to see the inclusion of GV24 (Shenting) in future acupuncture point selections in research, given the importance of scalp acupuncture for neurological conditions impacting olfaction. and the brain.

In another investigation of postviral olfactory dysfunction, traditional Chinese acupuncture “significantly improved the outcome of olfactory function in acupuncture patients compared to the observation group.” [2] The results were confirmed using the University of Pennsylvania Odor Identification Test (UPSIT). The treatment process was supervised by an acupuncture teacher with over 50 years of experience. The acupuncture points used in the survey included LI20 (Yingxiang) and M-HN-14 (Bitong).

It will take time for the new wave of research to confirm the aforementioned results. We do know, however; that acupuncture has been shown to be effective in preventing damage to cells and glands in the head and neck. For example, researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas (Houston) and the Fudan University Cancer Center (Shanghai) conclude that acupuncture “resulted in significantly less and less severe RIX. [radiation-induced xerostomia] symptoms 1 year after treatment vs SCC [standard care control]. ” [3] The blinded study of the effects of acupuncture on head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy shows groundbreaking results.

The salivary glands can be permanently damaged by radiation therapy and there is a high incidence of resulting RIX, with complications including difficult or painful swallowing, altered sense of taste (dysgeusia), dental problems, sleeplessness and difficulty speaking.

Outcome measures were based on questionnaire, salivary flow, incidence of xerostomia, saliva content, and quality of life scores. One year after completing all acupuncture treatments, the acupuncture group maintained significantly higher patient success rates than the standard care and sham control groups. All acupuncture treatments were provided by licensed acupuncturists trained at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. The acupuncture points used were as follows:

  • CV24
  • LU7
  • KD6
  • Little finger: Shenmen, Point Zero, Salivary gland 2 Prime, Larynx

Body style acupuncture needles were 0.25mm × 40mm and auricular acupuncture needles were 0.16mm × 15mm. Acupuncture treatments were provided 3 times per week for the duration of the 6-7 week radiotherapy period. The researchers conclude that acupuncture “should be considered for the prevention of radiation-induced xerostomia”. [4]

The COVID-19 report now cites the long-haul term in reference to patients with long-lasting adverse effects associated with the disease. Decreased sense of taste, smell and chronic fatigue are frequently cited. This highlights the need for effective treatments for patients with COVID-19.

Preliminary results of modern acupuncture research will be reviewed by the HealthCMi information service as the research is completed. Regarding traditional Chinese herbal medicine, there are already several studies that have been completed. In a study of 662 patients, Chinese herbal medicine significantly reduced death rates from COVID-19. [5]

In another investigation of COVID-19 patients with pneumonia, researchers conclude that adding Chinese medicine to conventional care improves clinical efficacy. The researchers note that Chinese medicine “dramatically increased the negative conversion rate of viral nucleic acids.” They add that Chinese medicine “dramatically reduced lung inflammation,” “improved host immune function,” and Chinese medicine “showed superior performance” to improve “clinical efficacy rate, rate. negative conversion of viral nucleic acids, lung inflammation and biochemical remission rate. Markers. ” [6]

The laboratory results indicate that Chinese herbal medicine is effective. Research shows that the Chinese herbal patent medicine Lianhua Qingwen Capsules decreases the number of viral particles in cells infected with SARS-CoV-2. Transmission electron microscopy confirms that viral particles on the surface of cell membranes, in cytoplasm and in plasma vesicles decrease in cells treated with Lianhua Qingwen capsules. [7] In a clinical trial, researchers conclude that Lianhua Qingwen capsules improve recovery rate from COVID-19 symptoms, shorten the time between initial symptoms and recovery, and improve morphological recovery from chest radiological abnormalities. [8]

The references:
[1] Vent, Julia, Djin-Wue Wang and Michael Damm. “Effects of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Post-viral Olfactory Dysfunction.” Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 142, no. 4 (2010): 505-509.
[2] Dai, Qi, Zhihui Pang, and Hongmeng Yu. “Recovery of olfactory function in patients with postviral olfactory dysfunction after acupuncture treatment.” Complementary and Alternative Medicine Evidence-Based 2016 (2016).
[3] Garcia, MK, Meng, Z., Rosenthal, DI, Shen, Y., Chambers, M., Yang, P., Wei, Q., Hu, C., Wu, C., Bei, W. and Prinsloo, S., 2019. Effect of true and sham acupuncture on radiation-induced xerostomia in patients with head and neck cancer: a randomized clinical trial. Open JAMA Network, 2 (12), pp. E1916910-e1916910.
[4] Garcia, MK, Meng, Z., Rosenthal, DI, Shen, Y., Chambers, M., Yang, P., Wei, Q., Hu, C., Wu, C., Bei, W. and Prinsloo, S., 2019. Effect of true and sham acupuncture on radiation-induced xerostomia in patients with head and neck cancer: a randomized clinical trial. Open JAMA Network, 2 (12), pp. E1916910-e1916910.
[5] Chen, Guohua, Wen Su, Jiayao Yang, Dan Luo, Ping Xia, Wen Jia, Xiuyang Li et al. Chinese Herbal Medicine Reduces Mortality in Patients With Severe and Critical Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Frontiers of Medicine (2020): 1-8.
[6] Sun, Chun-Yang, Ya-Lei Sun, and Xin-Min Li. “The role of Chinese medicine in COVID-19 pneumonia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine (2020).
[7] Runfeng, Li, Hou Yunlong, Huang Jicheng, Pan Weiqi, Ma Qinhai, Shi Yongxia, Li Chufang et al. “Lianhuaqingwen exerts antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Pharmacological research (2020): 104761.
[8] Hu, Ke, Wei-jie Guan, Ying Bi, Wei Zhang, Lanjuan Li, Boli Zhang, Qingquan Liu et al. “Efficacy and safety of Lianhuaqingwen capsules, a reused Chinese herb, in patients with coronavirus disease 2019: a multicenter, prospective and randomized controlled trial.” »Phytomedicine (2020): 153242.

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