Can acupuncture help lower blood pressure?

Maintaining good levels of fitness, eating healthily, and using beta-blockers are all well-known weapons in the fight against high blood pressure, but recent research has revealed that acupuncture could be another effective tool when it comes to treating individuals living with hypertension.

The study involved 65 participants all suffering with mild to moderate hypertension but in otherwise good health. None of the individuals were previously taking blood pressure medication, and all received a weekly 30-minute treatment of electroacupuncture, in which a low-intensity electrical current stimulates the acupuncture needles.

Half of the study group received the treatment at acupuncture points on the wrist and just below the knee, while the other half received the acupuncture at other points on the body, giving what is effectively a placebo effect.

After eight weeks, those who received the genuine acupuncture treatment displayed an average drop of 8mmHg in systolic blood pressure levels, and 4mmHg in diastolic readings. The effect of the acupuncture lasted for around one month after the cessation of the treatment, and no adverse effects or complications were reported.

blood pressureThe individuals who were most responsive to the treatment displayed an average drop of 16 points in their systolic blood pressure readings. Results from the control group showed no major changes in blood pressure levels.

Recent statistics suggest that around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure, and some will be suffering from the condition without even realising it. Indeed, high blood pressure is referred to as the “silent killer” by some health professionals as it doesn’t always display symptoms, and the first some people know about it is when they suffer a heart attack or stroke.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured regularly and to make some simple lifestyle choices if you notice your blood pressure creeping up.

Although research into the relationship between blood pressure and acupuncture is in its early days, early results are encouraging and it looks like soon we will have another weapon at our disposal in the fight against high blood pressure and hypertension.

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