Acupuncture for hypertension
Primary hypertension (high blood pressure), is a medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is constantly high.
Blood pressure is measured in mm Hg. Systolic blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart. Diastolic blood pressure refers to your blood pressure when your heart is between beats.
Understanding blood pressure readings
There are four blood pressure levels, low, normal, slightly high and high:
- Low - 90/60mm Hg
- Normal - 120/80mm Hg
- Slightly high - 140/90mm Hg
- High - 190/100mm Hg
Symptoms of hypertension include a high blood pressure of more than 140/90mmHg, stress, red eyes, headaches and light headedness. Hypertension can cause cardiovascular diseases (heart disease).
Causes of hypertension
The ancient Chinese knew the causes of hypertension for thousands of years. In traditional Chinese medicine the causes are excessive heat, stress and anxiety. An active, overly stressed mind can cause hypertension as the mind is housed in the blood in Chinese medicine theory.
In western medicine, the causes of hypertension are:
- Age - the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
- A family history of high blood pressure
- Being of African or Caribbean origin
- A high amount of salt in your diet
- A lack of exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Drinking large amounts of alcohol
- Sleep deprivation
Treatment for hypertension
Most people with hypertension take anti-hypertensive medication but these have side effects. Clinical trials have proven the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of primary hypertension.
The ancient Chinese have been able to treat hypertension for centuries. Acupuncture treatment uses specific points on the body to control blood pressure by reducing stress and anxiety thereby reducing hypertension without side effects. It can also reduce the frequency of headaches.
Research using controlled trials and systematic review have given evidence that acupuncture has the effects of significantly reduced high blood pressure in the treatment group when compared to the control group. Medical acupuncture was not used. The conclusion of the studies was that they saw a reduction in blood pressure.
Changes to lifestyle and diet must also be made to combat hypertension, for example, exercising (cardio and yoga), practising mindfulness, reducing consumption of alcohol, red meat and salt.
Download my hypertension factsheet.
Yeong Jen Chiu, Andrew Chi & Ian A. Reid (1997) Cardiovascular and Endocrine Effects of Acupuncture in Hypertensive Patients, Clinical and Experimental Hypertension, 19:7, 1047-1063, DOI: 10.3109/10641969709083204.
KIM, D.D., PICA, A.M., DURÁN, R.G. and DURÁN, W.N. (2006), Acupuncture Reduces Experimental Renovascular Hypertension Through Mechanisms Involving Nitric Oxide Synthases. Microcirculation, 13: 577-585. doi: 10.1080/10739680600885210.
Wei Zhou, John C. Longhurst, Neuroendocrine Mechanisms of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Hypertension, Neuroendocrine Mechanisms of Acupuncture, Volume 2012, Article ID 878673, 9 pages, 10.1155/2012/878673.
Dong-Ze Li, Yu Zhou, Yi-Ning Yang , Yi-Tong Ma, Xiao-Mei Li, Jing Yu, Yan Zhao, Hui Zhai, and Lixing Lao, Acupuncture for Essential Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Sham-Controlled Clinical Trials, Acupuncture Effect and Omics Studies, Volume 2014, Article ID 279478, 7 pages, https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/279478.