Acupuncture for hypertension (high blood pressure)
I see patients with high blood pressure (HBP) and often acupuncture and lifestyle changes are enough to significantly improve things, particularly when there are ‘obvious’ triggers and factors such as stress or weight issues that can be helped with acupuncture.
Often patients on medication for HBP and other medications suffer from side effects, acupuncture can help alleviate these side effects and sometimes the in consultation with their GP patients can reduce or discontinue some medications.
In a study (Zhang 2013) to measure the effects of acupuncture on hypertension it was shown acupuncture had a synergistic effect when combined with antihypertensive medication. The patient’s blood pressure was around 160/100 mm Hg and after pharmaceutical treatment this dropped to 150/99 mm Hg but the patient experienced side effects including flushing, palpitations, diarrhoea, fatigue, decreased sexual function and other clinical disorders. Acupuncture was added to his treatment and blood his pressure dropped to 128/85 mm Hg and by the 7th week of acupuncture treatments combined with pharmaceutical medication blood pressure averaged 130/80 mm Hg with no appreciable side effects.
The acupuncture treatment used points LI-4, LI-11, ST-36, ST-9 with the acupuncture needles retained for 30 minutes. Additional acupuncture points CV-4, CV-6 and SP-6 were used to elevate the side effects of the medication. An intensive course of 60 acupuncture treatments was applied over a 12 week period.
This case study postulated that acupuncture may help as an alternative treatment for patients with high blood pressure who cannot tolerate the side effects of antihypertensive medications; however the intensive and long treatment course used in this particular case might not be practical to for many patients due to time and financial constraints.
In practice I have found that acupuncture treatment with some lifestyle changes is often effective for reducing HBP with a treatment once a week for some weeks then treatment monthly for a while.
Zhang, Lili, Pengfei Shen, and Shu Wang. “Acupuncture treatment for hypertension: a case study.” Acupuncture in Medicine (2013): acupmed-2013.
By Austin ©2014 Austin Austin www.austinaustin.co.uk