At present, accumulative attention has been paid to the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) due to its global prevalence. Acupuncture may play a beneficial role in the post-Covid scenario. As patients are recovering from Covid-19, the problems which they are suffering from the aftermath of the infection, are multifarious.
The most common issues which are persisting among people even after two weeks of testing negative are:
1. Persistent cough with sore throat
2. Extreme fatigue
3. Post-Covid lung disease.
4. Anxiety, depression, insomnia
5. Cognitive issues similar to moderate traumatic brain injury
6. Digestive problems like bloating, irritable bowel, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain
(Representative photo: Reuters)
The problem of persistent cough after recovering from Covid is very common. Such patients complain of dry cough, throat irritation and scanty white phlegm. Acupuncture produces 90 per cent effective rate with no side effects.
In the acupuncture group, the patient is pricked with a thin-as-hair stainless steel needle at specific acupuncture points. There were 10 treatment sessions, with a duration of 30 minutes each. In the medication group, patients are given Methoxyphenamine capsules thrice a day for 10 days and the success rate is 70 per cent.
Patients develop extreme fatigue following a bout of Covid due to depletion of their Qi, because of the hypoactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Acupuncture is given at selected acupoints for five days in a week for two weeks and 80 per cent patients have shown improvement in their fatigue levels.
Post-Covid lung disease can be effectively tackled using acupuncture and moxibustion. The principle is to promote, regulate and stimulate the body’s self-regulating function. Most of these patients have symptoms similar to COPD, due to damage to lung parenchyma caused by pneumonitis.
Anxiety, depression and insomnia are very common in post-Covid patients and these can be effectively tackled by stimulating specific acupoints which release melatonin and the happy hormone — serotonin.
Many patients who have recovered from Covid complain of a lingering cognitive impact or problems with their memory and inability to stay focused. This is caused due to the body’s response to infection, which leads to blood becoming extremely sticky. This is particularly seen in patients who were in the ICU. Early studies have shown that acupuncture at specific points improved cognitive ability. Treatment is given over a period of four weeks, five days a week, each session being for 30 minutes.
Post-Covid digestive symptoms include persistent nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating, abdominal pain and irritable bowel. Patients are given acupuncture thrice a week for four weeks. The major cause of these symptoms is the impact on spleen, stomach and liver. Acupuncture promotes gastric peristalsis in patients with low-intensity gastric motility and suppresses peristalsis in those with acute initial motility.
Almost 70-80 per cent of patients showed improvement in their symptoms with acupuncture, which is a safe and effective treatment without any side effects.