Those suffering from hypertension, or high blood pressure, are at risk for a host of other health issues including suffering a stroke or heart attack. And for some people, the prescription drugs used to treat high blood pressure either aren’t effective enough or bring on undesirable side effects. In recent years, studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective and drug free alternative to combating high blood pressure. But, how can you reduce high blood pressure with acupuncture?
High blood pressure is not something you want to ignore. If your blood pressure is too high for a long period of time, it can cause serious damage to your blood vessels. These damaged blood vessels can lead to some serious health issues including heart failure, vision loss, kidney disease, or stroke, just to name a few. The really dangerous thing is that many people with high blood pressure don’t exhibit any symptoms so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately, 75 million people in the United States, or 29% of the population, suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Of particular note is a 2015 study conducted at the University of California, Irvine and published in the journal Medical Acupuncture1 which found that acupuncture was beneficial in treating patients with mild to moderate hypertension. Study participants had their blood pressure reduced for up to 6 weeks with the use of electro-acupuncture.
Prefer to listen? Check out this podcast episode on high blood pressure!
Electro-acupuncture works by applying low intensity electrical pulses through needles inserted into specific points on the body. Researchers said that, “findings suggest that with regular use, electro-acupuncture could help people manage their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke in the longer term.” According to the study, 70% of treated patients experienced a noticeable drop in blood pressure.
“By using Western scientific rigor to validate an ancient Eastern therapy, we feel we have integrated Chinese and Western medicine and provided a beneficial guideline for treating a disease that affects millions in the U.S.,” said senior author and UCI professor of medicine and cardiologist John Longhurst.
The electro-acupuncture treatment group also showed other health benefits such as a 41% on average drop in blood concentration of norepinephrine (or noradrenaline) which is a hormone that constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure as well as blood sugar. And this is good news as high blood pressure costs the U.S. approximately $50 billion a year in health care costs, medications, and absence from work.
“Because electro-acupuncture decreases both peak and average systolic blood pressure over 24 hours, this therapy may decrease the risk for stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart failure and myocardial infarction in hypertensive patients,” said Dr. Longhurst.
The bottom line is the risks are too great! If you haven’t been checked for high blood pressure, now might be a good time to do it. And if you are interested in a drug-free option to address hypertension, talk to your acupuncturist today and make an appointment with us today.
If you would like to do your own homework ahead of time, there are some great studies available through the National Library of Medicine and available to be viewed at www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
1. Peng Li, Stephanie C. Tjen-A-Looi, Ling Cheng, Dongmei Liu, Jeannette Painovich, Sivarama Vinjamury, John C. Longhurst. Long-Lasting Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electroacupuncture in Patients with Hypertension: Randomized Controlled Trial. Medical Acupuncture, 2015; 27 (4): 253 DOI: 10.1089/acu.2015.1106 https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/acu.2015.1106