Could Acupuncture Help You Control Your Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure increases your risk for many health complications, like heart, kidney, or vision issues. Unfortunately, lowering your blood pressure can be challenging, even if you take your medication and follow your doctor's diet and lifestyle recommendations. Acupuncture could help you reduce your pressure naturally and avoid serious health problems.
The Dangers of High Blood Pressure
Your heart is the pump that sends blood flowing through your blood vessels. Like any pump, steady pressure is needed to ensure an adequate flow. Sometimes the pressure inside the blood vessels becomes too strong, forcing the heart to work harder than it should.
Over time, high pressure damages the blood vessels, making it easier for fatty plaque to form on them, according to the American Heart Association. Plaque clogs the vessels, reducing blood flow and keeping blood pressure too high.
High blood pressure increases your risk for several diseases and conditions including:
- Heart Failure
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Heart Attack
- Kidney Damage and Failure
- Vision Problems, Including Blindness
- Pregnancy Complications
- Sexual Problems
- Mild Memory Issues
You may have high blood pressure and never feel any different. Although you might not experience any symptoms, high blood pressure could still damage your health.
Many people struggle to lower their blood pressure. In fact, 75% of US adults with high blood pressure don't have the condition under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How Your Acupuncturist Can Help You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Acupuncture treatment may reduce blood pressure by:
- Balancing Qi. Qi is a type of energy that travels throughout your body in a system of pathways called meridians. If Qi becomes blocked at some point, your body becomes imbalanced. Balance issues may lead to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure. Hair-thin acupunctures placed in the skin unclog blockages, restoring the free flow of Qi through the body.
- Regulating Hormones. Hormonal fluctuations can be a factor in high blood pressure. Acupuncture helps control crucial hormones that affect blood pressure.
- Increasing Blood Flow. Stagnant Qi could narrow your blood vessels, limiting the amount of blood that can flow through them. Acupuncture treatments widen the vessels, increasing blood flow.
- Improving Brain Function. Acupuncture may have a positive effect on the part of the brain that controls blood pressure. Treatments could help the brain regulate blood pressure more effectively by activating crucial brain pathways and neurotransmitters essential for blood pressure control. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay messages between nerve cells.
- Reducing Stress. Stress is a key factor in high blood pressure for many people. Stress hormones narrow the blood vessels, increasing pressure against the walls of the vessels. Acupuncture sessions increase the production of anti-stress hormones, like serotonin and endorphins. These hormones improve your mood and help you relax. Treatments also reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
Thanks to acupuncture treatments, you may be able to lower the dosage of your high blood pressure medication or stop taking it completely in some cases. When Chinese researchers compared the effects of acupuncture with the drug nifedipine, they discovered that acupuncture offered an effective alternative treatment for high blood pressure.
Although acupuncture took a little longer to reduce blood pressure than the medication, it significantly reduced pressure in patients with extremely high blood pressure and moderately lowered blood pressure in people with moderately high blood pressure. The research study appeared in Integrative Practitioner in March 2017.
Electroacupuncture was also shown to decrease blood pressure, according to a 2015 research study published in Medical Acupuncture. Electroacupuncture involves attaching a gentle electrical current to acupuncture needles to enhance the effects of acupuncture treatment.
Wondering if acupuncture could reduce your blood pressure? Contact our office to schedule an appointment with the acupuncturist.
American Heart Association: What Is High Blood Pressure?, 5/25/2023
CDC: Facts About Hypertension, 7/6/2023
Medical Acupuncture: Long-Lasting Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electroacupuncture in Patients with Hypertension: Randomized Controlled Trial
Integrative Practitioner: Acupunctures Equally Effective as Drug Intervention for High Blood Pressure, 3/8/2017
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience: The Hypotensive Role of Acupuncture in Hypertension: Clinical Study and Mechanistic Study, 5/25/2020
Healthline: What to Know About Acupuncture for High Blood Pressure, 8/6/2022