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Acupuncture Aimed at Blood Pressure

Posted on Jan. 18, 2017, 6 a.m. in Blood Pressure Alternative Medicine

Traditional Chinese therapy may markedly lower blood pressure, with the effects persisting for 90 days.

Acupuncture is a longstanding Chinese medicine therapy, and a team from University of California/Irvine (California, USA) submits data that validates its effects on mild to moderate hypertension (high blood pressure). John Longhurst and colleagues enrolled 65 hypertensive men and women, who were not receiving any hypertension medication, in a study in which 33 were assigned to receive electroacupuncture – a  form of the practice that employs low-intensity electrical stimulation – on both sides of the inner wrists and slightly below each knee.  Seventy percent (70%) of these subjects displayed a noticeable drop in blood pressure  -- an average of 6 to 8 mmHg for systolic blood pressure, and 4 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure. These improvements persisted for a month and a half.  Also in this group, the team identified significant declines in blood concentration levels of norepinephrine (41%), which constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure and glucose levels; and renin (67%), an enzyme produced in the kidneys that helps control blood pressure. In addition, the electroacupuncture decreased aldosterone (22%), a hormone that regulates electrolytes.  Modest but clinically significant, the study authors submit that the blood pressure reductions could suggest a technique that could be especially useful in treating systolic hypertension in patients over 60 years.

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Painovich J, Longhurst J. “Integrating acupuncture into the cardiology clinic: can it play a role?”  Sheng Li Xue Bao. 2015 Feb 25;67(1):19-31.

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