Medical Acupuncture as a Treatment for Novel COVID-19-Related Respiratory Distress: Personal Experience from a Frontline Anesthesiologist

Med Acupunct. 2021 Feb 1;33(1):83-85. doi: 10.1089/acu.2020.1467. Epub 2021 Feb 16.


Background: COVID-19 leads to significant respiratory distress among many other multiorgan dysfunctions. Depending on severity of symptoms, current treatment in the United States for COVID-19 consists of supportive care, including, but not limited to, supplemental oxygen, antipyretic drugs, pain killers, and mechanical ventilation. Case Description: This case reports a previously healthy anesthesiologist and medical acupuncturist working in a New York City COVID intensive care unit who contracted and was diagnosed with COVID-19 virus. She subsequently developed self-diagnosed acutely symptomatic COVID pneumonia, including symptoms of pleuritic chest pain, hypoxia with shortness of breath, increased respiratory rate, dry cough, orthostatic hypotension, and headache. She self-treated with cupping therapy at the onset of symptoms and medical acupuncture at the onset of pulmonary symptoms to full recovery. Conclusions: Acupuncture should be considered as a viable adjunct in supportive care for patients with symptomatic COVID-19 pneumonia.

Keywords: COVID-19; Chinese traditional; acupuncture; coronavirus; medicine; pneumonia.