Acupuncture lowers blood pressure

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Acupuncture lowers blood pressure

Postby admin » Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:45 pm

Acupuncture found to lower elevations in blood pressure

Procedure combined with electrical stimulation can lower rates by as much as 50 percent, according to UCI study

Acupuncture treatments using low levels of electrical stimulation can lower elevations in blood pressure by as much as 50 percent, researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine have found.

In tests on rats, the researchers found that electroacupuncture treatments provided temporary relief from the conditions that raise blood pressure during hypertensive states. Such treatments, they believe, potentially can become part of a therapeutic regimen for long-term care of hypertension and other cardiovascular ailments in people.

“This study suggests that acupuncture can be an excellent complement to other medical treatments, especially for those treating the cardiac system,” said Dr. John C. Longhurst, director of the Samueli Center and study leader. “The Western world is waiting for a clear scientific basis for using acupuncture, and we hope that this research ultimately will lead to the integration of ancient healing practices into modern medical treatment.”

The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old form of Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles at specific points on the body to help cure disease or relieve pain. In previous studies, Longhurst and his UCI colleagues have identified at the cellular and molecular level how acupuncture excites brain cells to release neurotransmitters that either inhibit or heighten cardiovascular activity.

They have found that when an acupuncture needle is inserted at specific sites on the wrist, inside of the forearm or leg, this triggers the release of opioid chemicals in the brain that reduce excitatory responses in the cardiovascular system. This decreases the heart’s activity and its need for oxygen, which in turn can lower blood pressure, and promotes healing for a number of cardiac ailments, such as myocardial ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart) and hypertension.

In this study, the Longhurst team applied acupuncture to specific points on the forelimb of test rats with artificially elevated blood pressure rates; these same sites on humans are on the inside of the forearm slightly above the wrist. The researchers found that acupuncture alone had no effect on blood pressure.

Next, they added electrical stimulation to the acupuncture treatment by running an electrical current through the needles. High frequencies of stimulation also had no effect, but low frequencies lowered increased blood pressure by as much as 40 to 50 percent. Overall, the researchers found that a 30-minute treatment reduced blood pressure rates in these test rats by 25 mmHg – with the effect lasting almost two hours.

“This type of electroacupuncture is only effective on elevated blood pressure levels, such as those present in hypertension, and the treatment has no impact on standing blood pressure rates,” said Longhurst, a cardiologist who is also the Lawrence K. Dodge Professor in Integrative Biology. “Our goal is to help establish a standard of acupuncture treatment that can benefit everyone who has hypertension and other cardiac ailments.”

Longhurst and his colleagues currently are testing this electroacupuncture treatment method in an ongoing human study.

Drs. Wei Zhou, Liang-Wu Fu, Stephanie C. Tjen-A-Looi and Peng Li of the UCI Department of Medicine participated in the study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the Larry K. Dodge Endowed Chair.

The Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine in the UCI School of Medicine is focused on scientific research and education in the broad field of complementary and alternative medicine. The center, which was established in early 2000 through a gift from Henry and Susan Samueli, is dedicated to public and professional education and scientific research on the use of complementary and integrative approaches in wellness and prevention as well as health care. For more information, see: www.ucihs.uci.edu/com/samueli.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.
Last edited by admin on Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby PeterG » Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:51 pm

A doctor Arabinda Das, MD reported using acupuncture points LIV-3, SP-9 and GB-34 bilaterally. After 2-3 visits he sutured the points. He reported immediate and lasting normalization of pressure in 80% of cases.[Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Aug/Sept 2002; p.66]

A separate study suggests 12 treatments over a course of 6 weeks.

It was found that acupuncture at the Heart otoacupoint produced marked immediate depressor effects, with a short-term effective rate of 100% and long-term effective rate of 63%. [Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1992 Jun, 12(2): pp.133-6 ]
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Postby PeterG » Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:00 am

Whether a person is sitting or lying, and how their arm lies when their blood pressure is taken can significantly influence blood pressure readings. According a Dutch study, when blood pressure is taken with a person lying down, the reading will be significantly higher than when they are seated, and if they lie with their arm on the level of the bed it will also result in higher readings than if the elbow is flexed and the arm is raised to the level of the heart. The authors argue that the patient position should be mentioned in any studies reporting blood pressure readings. (J Hum Hypertens. 2003 Jul;17(7):459-62).
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Postby PeterG » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:39 pm

Sleep, blood pressure link made
From: Reuters
From correspondents in New York

April 04, 2006


SKIMPING on sleep over a prolonged period appears to be an important risk factor for developing high blood pressure, according to a report in the medical journal Hypertension.
"People who sleep for only short durations raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate," Dr. James E. Gangwisch, from Columbia University in New York, said.

"This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure."

Previous reports have linked sleep disorders with cardiovascular disease, but it was unclear if sleep deprivation in people who did not have a sleep disorder affected the likelihood of developing hypertension.

The new findings are based on an analysis of data for 4810 subjects, between 32 and 86 years old, who participated in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Hypertension was diagnosed in 647 subjects during the follow-up period from 1982 to 1992.

Among the subjects between 32 and 59 years of age, sleeping less than 6 hours per night more than doubled the risk of developing hypertension, the report indicates.

Moreover, this association remained significant even after taking obesity and diabetes into account.

Further studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms linking sleep deprivation with high blood pressure, the researchers note.

"If short sleep duration functions to increase blood pressure, then interventions that increase the amount and quality of sleep could potentially serve as treatments and as primary preventative measures for hypertension."
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Acupuncture Ineffective for Hypertension

Postby PeterG » Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:40 am

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 08 - Standardized or individualized traditional Chinese acupuncture is no better than a sham procedure in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patients, according to a report in the November issue of Hypertension.

Findings from small trials and case studies have suggested a benefit for acupuncture in treating hypertension, lead author Dr. Eric A. Macklin, from the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, and colleagues note. However, until now, no data from large, randomized trials have been reported.

The Stop Hypertension with the Acupuncture Research Program (SHARP) trial involved 192 subjects with untreated blood pressure between 140/90 and 179/109 mmHg. The subjects were randomized to undergo standardized acupuncture at preselected points, individualized traditional Chinese acupuncture, or invasive sham acupuncture (needle puncture at non-acupuncture sites).

The subjects underwent 12 or fewer acupuncture sessions over 6 to 8 weeks. Blood pressure was monitored every 2 weeks for 10 weeks and antihypertensives were given if blood pressure exceeded 180/110 mmHg.

The average drop in blood pressure from baseline to 10 weeks was comparable in each group, with about a decline of around 3.70 mmHg for systolic pressure and 3.5 mm Hg for diastolic pressure.

The authors were unable to find any patient subgroups, based on age, race, gender, baseline blood pressure, or other factors, for which active acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture at reducing blood pressure.

"The money and effort expended in this trial should save even more wasted money and ineffectual effort," Dr. Norman M. Kaplan, from the University of Texas at Dallas, comments in a related editorial, in reference to the null findings reported. "Acupuncture is receiving a number of proofs of inadequacy, but it may turn out that science cannot trump 2500 years of Asian tradition."

Hypertension 2006;48:838-845.
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