High blood pressure (hypertension) is a very common problem. Did you know almost 1/3 of adults in the U.S. have hypertension? That’s more than 100 million adults. Hypertension is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease-related deaths, and with our aging population and increased life expectancy, the prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to continue to increase (American Heart Association News, 2018).
Unfortunately, medications used for hypertension do tend to have side effects, and not everyone is good at changing their diet and exercise habits to better manage their hypertension. And for some, even with medication their blood pressure still does not remain at healthy levels. Did you know acupuncture can help better manage blood pressure levels?
In a randomized trial of people with hypertension, participants received 22 acupuncture sessions within a 6-week period, and many of the participants were also taking hypertension medications. This study showed a significant reduction in blood pressure levels in those receiving acupuncture treatment (Flachskampf, F.A., 2007).
For patients working to better manage their blood pressure levels, I always recommend looking at how they can change their diet and exercise habits. But I also suggest having weekly acupuncture treatments until we are consistently seeing blood pressure levels at their goal, and then moving to a schedule of “maintenance treatment” which is less frequent. And when patients are getting regular weekly treatment, they have the benefit of the “side effects” of acupuncture, including, better sleep, better managed stress and anxiety, better digestion, and improved immune health. It’s a win-win!
American Heart Association News, More Than 100 Million Americans Have High Blood Pressure, https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/01/more-than-100-million-americans-have-high-blood-pressure-aha-says, 2018.
Flachskampf, F.A., et. al. Randomized Trial of Acupuncture to Control Blood Pressure, Circulation American Heart Association Journal, 2007; https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.661140Circulation. 2007;115:3121–3129.