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« Back to Heart Health Questions

Q:

I have high blood pressure.  Can acupuncture help

?


A:

Yes!  A German study published in the June 2007 issue of Circulation found that acupuncture significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The top number in a blood pressure reading is systolic and refers to the force of blood flow when the heart is actively beating. The bottom figure is diastolic and measures the strength of flow when the heart is at rest. The extent of the blood pressure reductions by acupuncture treatments was comparable to those seen with anti-hypertensive medication or aggressive lifestyle changes, including radical salt restrictions. By the end of the 6 weeks, 24-hour ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly reduced from baseline in the acupuncture-treated patients while there were no significant changes seen in the sham acupuncture group.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine the presence of dampness in the body can cause problems with the digestive system, low energy, swelling, and weight gain. When the stomach and spleen weaken, this condition has the potential to obstruct the body mechanics responsible for regulating blood pressure. Acupuncture can assist the body in removing excess body fluids and help normalize blood lipid levels.

The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and when out of balance, Qi tends to rush upwards and cause symptoms such as headaches, red eyes, and shouting. When liver yang Qi rises uncontrollably, it can initiate the symptoms of high blood pressure. An acupuncture treatment is then needed to calm the liver Qi and stabilize the emotions of rage, frustration, and anger that can negatively impact blood pressure.

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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