A new study indicates that acupuncture can improve exercise tolerance in patients suffering from chronic heart failure.
Dr. Johannes Backs, physician and study director at the Department of Internal Medicine III (Cardiology, Angiology, and Pneumology - Medical Director: Professor Dr. Hugo Katus) of Heidelberg University Hospital conducted the clinical pilot study.
Patients with this disease suffer from shortness of breath and fatigue brought on by physical exercise.
The needles do not increase the heart's pump function, but they seem to have an influence on skeletal muscle strength and thus can increase the walk distance that heart patients can cover.
In a study where patients were given ten sessions of acupuncture on points that boost general strength according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the results showed that these patients could walk longer distances, recovered more quickly and tended to feel subjectively less exhausted.
The scientists now plan to study whether relatively low-cost acupuncture can improve the prognosis for cardiac patients over the long term.
The findings have been published in the medical journal "Heart".