High blood pressure is a growing concern; it is highly prevalent and also highly dangerous. Having even moderately high blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease substantially.
But high blood pressure medications come with their risks, too. So why not opt for natural solutions for managing your blood pressure instead?
The latest research shows that a specific form of acupuncture called electroacupuncture may be a good option if you are looking for an effective way to naturally lower blood pressure.
The effects of acupuncture on blood pressure
Several studies have examined the effects of acupuncture on blood pressure and much of the research has had mixed results. A review published in 2015 concluded that acupuncture is effective as an adjunctive treatment for hypertension (meaning when it is used alongside other treatments), but that it isn’t effective as a stand-alone treatment.
Acupuncture: high blood pressure reduction as a stand-alone treatment
However, recent findings show that acupuncture might just be an effective natural blood pressure reducer on its own. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine published a study in August 2015 in the journal Medical Acupuncture. Sixty-five participants with hypertension completed the study. None were using any medications to control their hypertension.
Half of the participants received electroacupuncture (a form of acupuncture that uses low-intensity electrical stimulation at specific acupuncture points on the body), and half received a sham acupuncture treatment. Significant reductions in blood pressure were seen after only four weeks in those receiving the electroacupuncture treatment for high blood pressure, and 70% of patients responded favorably to the treatment.
There was an average drop in systolic blood pressure of 6 mmHg, and an average drop in diastolic blood pressure of 4 mmHg after eight weeks of treatment.
The reductions in blood pressure were also long lasting. No beneficial effects were seen for the control group. The authors note that although the reductions in blood pressure seen in the study seem small, they may actually lead to significant benefits, lowering the risk for things like aneurysms and heart disease substantially.
The researchers also measured levels of norepinephrine (which constricts blood vessels), renin (an enzyme from the liver that helps increase blood pressure), and aldosterone (a hormone that affects sodium levels). Elevated levels of any of these three compounds help raise blood pressure.
The results of the study showed that electroacupuncture helped lower norepinephrine by 41%, renin by 67%, and aldosterone by 22%.
Visit an acupuncturist near you to discuss high blood pressure problems
If your latest blood pressure readings were concerning, make an appointment with a local acupuncturist to see if they can help you manage your blood pressure. Even if your numbers are just above normal, it’s a good idea to start making lifestyle changes and considering natural therapies to bring it down right away. Regular acupuncture treatments (especially electroacupuncture) might just be the trick you need to stay in control of your elevated blood pressure.
Keep in mind that to be in the healthy range, your blood pressure readings should be below 120 mmHg systolic (top number) and below 80 mmHg diastolic (bottom number). 120 to 139 mmHg systolic and 80 to 89 mmHg diastolic are considered in the prehypertension range, and anything higher is considered hypertensive. For a detailed blood pressure chart and help understanding your readings, go here.
For information on the benefits of acupuncture and how to find a certified acupuncturist near you, read more here. You can also read about how acupuncture works, along with tips for beginning your acupuncture treatment here.
Share your experience
Have you ever tried acupuncture? Did you find it helped lower your blood pressure? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.