Cardiovascular Health

Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to directly regulate abnormalities of blood pressure

This means that acupuncture can decrease high blood pressure in chronically ill hypertensive patients even if it’s gone on for years, without causing low blood pressure! Acupuncture when it’s applied to the right areas creates a strong input to the cardiovascular regions of the brain that regulate sympathetic outflow (heart rate responses) and therefore reduce hypertension. Acupuncture is actually able to lower reflective elevations in blood pressure by 40 to 50% by using these pathways! The direct mechanism of how electroacupuncture works is that there are somatic input regions of the brain (parts of the brain related to organ function) that regulate blood pressure and these light up under functional MRI studies while people are receiving electroacupuncture.

The arcuate and paraventricular nuclei in the hypothalamus, the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray in the midbrain, and the nucleus tractus solitarius in the medullary raphe pallidus are the major structures in the medulla that have effects on our blood pressure, and electroacupuncture directly stimulates these regions. These inputs are largely excited in those regions by glutamate. Acupuncture causes the increased release of glutamate and other excitatory neurotransmitters like acetylcholine to gain leverage over these areas. What’s amazing is that when acupuncture is given to someone with normal levels of blood pressure or just slightly elevated, after several treatments it becomes regular without creating low blood pressure, making acupuncture a very safe model for treating blood pressure.

For this reason when I’m treating patients for high blood pressure I work closely with their doctors to make sure that we lower their blood pressure medications because we can get such strong results that when coupled with the dose they’ve been taking of their medications can cause their blood pressure level to drop too low. Just one acupuncture treatment can lower blood pressure for up to 3 to 4 weeks. Doing treatments monthly is an excellent way to treat high blood pressure and the effects it has on our blood vessels, which left unmanaged (by medications) or untreated can cause serious illness and death. I encourage you to take full advantage of all the medical treatments we have access to in modern times- they can add years to your life, and a quality to your life you cannot quantify.