Can Acupuncture Help Hypertension?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture have been preventing
and treating hypertension and its myriad of symptoms successfully
for thousands of years. With regular treatment, high blood pressure
can be cured.
Recently, there has even been some western research that shows
acupuncture is an effective method to control hypertension and can
in some cases effect a cure. Medical researchers at Massachusetts
General Hospital, at the University of California at Irvine, in
Russia, and in China have all confirmed that acupuncture does indeed
lower blood pressure.1,2
Acupuncture needles gently inserted into specific areas of the
skin stimulate nerves that reach up into the brain to cells that
control blood pressure. These cells quiet down after acupuncture,
and blood vessels relax. The researchers have found that 12 acupuncture
treatments over a one-week period produce significant reductions
in blood pressure and that in most cases the benefits are long-lasting.
The researchers also say that 12 weekly treatments over six weeks
can produce a cure, which doctors define as maintaining normal blood
pressure readings without medication for one year.
Oriental medicine views disease as imbalances within energetic
pathways known as "meridians" or their associated organs.
For hypertension these imbalances are often found within the liver,
kidney, heart, and pericardium. Through observation, a thorough
medical history, and an interview, the acupuncturist is able to
distinguish the kind of imbalances present and to create an appropriate
treatment plan for the individual and his or her specific pattern
of imbalance. Acupuncture points may vary from person to person,
and some patients will be prescribed herbal medicine along with
Acupuncture can both treat hypertension and act as a preventative
medicine. TCM recognizes several patterns that can lead to high
blood pressure, and some other important factors in maintaining
proper blood pressure are diet and lifestyle changes. Lowering or
eliminating salt intake as well as adding adequate amounts of potassium,
calcium, and magnesium to the diet can decrease blood pressure.
It is important to avoid animal fat, coffee, alcohol, and smoking,
and to eat a healthy diet of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
Weight loss for those who are overweight and regular exercise have
also shown positive results in lowering blood pressure. Proper diet
and nutrition along with a healthy lifestyle and the limiting of
stressors can prevent many illnesses and aid in keeping your body
well-balanced. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can play an important
role in improving your health.
For those wanting more help with diet guidelines and changes, a
nutritional assessment can be of great benefit. Here at the Center
for Health and Healing, we do them quite often in conjunction with
||Zhou W, Fu LW, Tjen-A-Looi SC, et al. Afferent
mechanisms underlying stimulation modality-related modulation
of acupuncture-related cardiovascular responses. Journal
of Applied Physiology March 2005;98:872-880.
||Macklin EA, Buczyski B, Connell P, Pian-Smith
M, Stevens S, Thompson J, Valaskatgis P, Wayne P, Zusman R.
Results of the Stop Hypertension With Acupuncture Research Program
(SHARP) Pilot Trial (Abstract). J Alt Compl Med., 2004;
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