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Study Shows Acupuncture Significantly Lowers Blood Pressure

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

A German study published in the June 2007 issue of Circulation found that acupuncture significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The extent of the blood pressure reductions by acupuncture treatments was comparable to those seen with antihypertensive medication or aggressive lifestyle changes, including radical salt restrictions.

For the study, 160 outpatients with uncomplicated, mild to moderate hypertension were randomized to six weeks of acupuncture performed by Chinese medicine practitioners or to a sham procedure. Patients underwent 22 sessions, each 30 minutes in length. By the end of the six weeks, 24-hour ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly reduced from baseline in the acupuncture-treated patients (5.4 mm Hg and 3.0 mm Hg, respectively). No significant changes were seen in the sham acupuncture group.

After six months the blood-pressure reductions disappeared, leading investigators to conclude that ongoing acupuncture treatments would be required to maintain the blood-pressure reductions.

Source: Flachskampf FA, Gallasch J, Gefeller O, Gan J, Mao J, Pfahlberg AB, Wortmann A, Klinghammer L, Pflederer W, Daniel WG. "Randomized trial of acupuncture to lower blood pressure." Circulation. 2007 Jun 19;115(24):3121-9. Epub 2007 Jun 4.

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