Acupuncture has passed the vigorous scientific testing of Western medicine and emerges as an extremely promising candidate for treating hypertension, no drugs necessary! New research from University of California, Irvine scientists reveals that acupuncture lowers blood pressure and may slash the risk of heart disease and stroke.
“This clinical study is the culmination of more than a decade of bench research in this area,” said Dr. John Longhurst, a University of California, Irvine cardiologist and former director of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. “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.”
It’s All About the Acupoints
Researchers randomly separated 60 hypertensive patients not on any blood pressure-lowering medications into two groups. Each group received electroacupuncture, which uses low-intensity electrical stimulation on desired acupoints.
The first group of 33 patients had acupoints manipulated on both sides of their inner wrists and just below each knee. Up to 70% of the patients enjoyed significant declines in blood pressure for up to a month and a half after treatment. Systolic blood pressure (the top number) dropped 6-8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) dropped up to 4 mmHg. Patients also experienced a decrease in blood pressure markers: norepinephrine (shown to narrow blood vessels and increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels) declined 41%, and renin (an enzyme that helps regulate blood pressure) dropped by as much as 67%!
The other group made up of 32 patients received electroacupuncture at other acupoints along the forearm and lower leg, but experienced no blood pressure gains.
According to researchers, electroacupuncture could be especially useful in treating hypertension in adults over 60 years old.
“Because electroacupuncture 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,” Longhurst said.