Electrical Acupuncture Slashes High Blood Pressure

AcupunctureAcupuncture combined with electrical stimulation, or electroacupuncture, can lower elevations in blood pressure by 50 percent, according to a study in rats. The treatments provided temporary relief from elevated blood pressure, such as what occurs in hypertension.

The study involved rats with artificially elevated blood pressure. Acupuncture was applied to specific points on the rats' forelimbs--the corresponding human point would be on the inside of the forearm just above the wrist--but did not change blood pressure rates.

Researchers then added electrical stimulation to the treatment by running an electrical current through the acupuncture needles. While high frequencies of stimulation had no effect, low frequencies lowered elevated blood pressure rates by 40 percent to 50 percent. A 30-minute treatment was able to reduce blood pressure by 25 mmHg, and the reduction lasted for nearly two hours.

One caveat: The electroacupuncture worked only on elevated blood pressure levels, not standing levels. The researchers said their goal is to establish a "standard acupuncture treatment" that can benefit those with hypertension and other cardiac ailments, and believe electroacupuncture, which is now being tested on humans, may be useful for the long-term care of these conditions in human patients.

Ancient Healing Practices Meet the Western World

Acupuncture provides an excellent complement to other medical treatments, researchers say, but the Western world is still waiting for a definitive scientific basis for using this age-old treatment.

During acupuncture, a 3,000-year-old form of Chinese medicine, needles are inserted into specific body points to help relieve pain and disease. Previous studies by the same authors have shown that acupuncture excites brain cells, causing them to release neurotransmitters that can inhibit or heighten the heart's activity.

Specifically, when a needle is inserted at a certain point on the wrist, forearm or leg, opioid chemicals in the brain that reduce excitatory responses in the cardiovascular system are released. The result? A decrease in heart activity and need for oxygen, which can lower blood pressure and promote the healing of heart-related conditions like myocardial ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart) and hypertension.

Journal of Applied Physiology March 2005, Vol. 98: 872-880

Medical News Today March 29, 2005

Dr. Mercola's Comments:


When it comes to treating chronic degenerative diseases, I prefer non-toxic health care options to modern medicine's poor excuses for "cures." I've run a number of articles in the past about studies that have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture. But this is the first study I've seen describing acupuncture treatments to normalize high blood pressure.

If you're looking to lower your blood pressure, but are not crazy about needles and the idea of using electrical acupuncture, then I have some good news for you: there are plenty of non-drug and non-invasive, inexpensive and simple alternatives to lower your blood pressure and improve your health:

  • Eliminate all grains and sweets from your diet until your blood pressure and weight normalize. The overproduction of insulin is a major factor in the persistence of high blood pressure.

  • Utilize the benefits exercise can provide you as a drug. Most overweight hypertensive patients require about six to nine hours of relatively intense exercise per week (working hard enough where they have problems comfortably talking to someone). This intensity is required to decrease the sensitivity of the insulin receptors.

  • Have effective tools to address the emotional stress that lies behind the physical symptoms associated with elevated blood pressure by using energy psychology tools. My favorite is the Emotional Freedom Technique. It's like acupuncture without the needles!

  • Spend a safe amount of time in the sun. Interestingly, it appears that the farther you are from the equator, the greater your risk of high blood pressure becomes.

  • Another natural option is CardioEssentials, which contains nattokinase -- a powerful enzyme derived from the food natto. Nattokinase has been used successfully for circulatory problems for over two decades, and CardioEssentials can significantly restore normal blood flow that may impact blood pressure functionally in as little as seven to 10 days (so blood pressure should be carefully monitored during this time). 

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