Researchers with the Susan Samueli center for Integrative Medicine have reportedly become the first to scientifically confirm that the ancient Chinese practice is beneficial in treating mild to moderate hypertension. They have claimed that regular acupuncture could help people control their blood pressure and lessen risk of stroke or heart disease.
According to Dr. John Longhurst, a University of California, Irvine cardiologist and former director of the Samueli Center, this over decade-long study has validated the view that integrated Chinese and Western medicine provides a beneficial guideline for treating a disease that affects millions of people in the United States.
Longhurst and his UCI colleagues Dr. Peng Li and Stephanie Tjen-A-Looi conducted tests on 65 hypertensive patients who were not receiving any hypertension medication. Separated randomly into two groups, the subjects were treated with electro-acupuncture - a form of the practice that employs low-intensity electrical stimulation - at different acupoints on the body.
One group of 33 respondents receive electro-acupuncture on both sides of the inner wrists and slightly below each knee, and a noticeable drop in blood pressure rates in 70 percent of participants was found. An average of 6 to 8 mmHg for systolic blood pressure (the high number) and 4 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure (the low number), they said.
Also in this group, the team identified significant declines in blood concentration levels of norepinephrine (41 percent), which constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure and glucose levels; and renin (67 percent), an enzyme produced in the kidneys that helps control blood pressure.
In addition, the electroacupuncture decreased aldosterone (22 percent), a hormone that regulates electrolytes. No consequential blood pressure changes were found in the group of 32 who received electroacupuncture at other acupoints along the forearm and lower leg.
The study is published in the journal International Journal of Tourism Research