Acupuncture can lower blood pressure by as much as 40 percent, according to a study recently released by the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Findings indicate that acupuncture can help normalize blood pressure—lower pressure when it is elevated or raise pressure when it is too low—and complements treatments for cardiovascular patients.
Though drug therapy and healthy lifestyle changes related to diet, exercise and weight loss are typically utilized to treat high blood pressure, some patients are looking for alternative solutions. “In our real world of clinical practice, we’re encountering patients who find it difficult to make these changes or who continue to have high pressure despite making real changes. They’re looking for something else, and acupuncture is a potential solution that’s relatively painless,” said Dr. John Longhurst, director of the Susan Samueli Center and study leader.
The Samueli Center’s research also found that acupuncture has a slow onset and prolonged effect. If treatments were stopped, the pressure would stay down for another month or so, and then rise over a period of weeks. “We believe these new findings on acupuncture and hypertension will help educate both Western and alternative medical practitioners while encouraging dialog on developing integrative treatment solutions,” said Longhurst.
Elevated blood pressure is due to either increased vascular constriction, or to the heart pumping excess volume into the blood vessels. Diuretics and other antihypertensives typically help with the latter; acupuncture appears to help with the former. Other recent studies from the Susan Samueli Center indicate that acupuncture relaxes vessels mainly through the central nervous system.
Acupuncture is an effective complementary modality for essential hypertension for both prevention and treatment. Anti-hypertensive effects of acupuncture are best for treatment of mild or first stage hypertension. Acupuncture is especially suitable for hypertensive individuals with existing liver or kidney complications that have low tolerance for anti-hypertensive medication.
For more information about acupuncture for normalizing blood pressure call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician and Homeopath at (305) 595-9500. For Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy program information ask for Joe Calareso.