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Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension by Activating Natural Opioids

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Highlights
  • One third of the adult population live with high blood pressure
  • About 7 in 10 adults with hypertension use medications to treat the condition
  • First evidence of the molecular activity behind electroacupuncture's hypertension-lowering benefits.

Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension by Activating Natural Opioids

Electroacupuncture treatment was found to lower high blood pressure by increasing the release of a kind of opioid in the brainstem region that controls blood pressure.

In rats, electroacupuncture resulted in reduced blood pressure which lasted for at least three days by increasing the gene expression of enkephalins. Enkephalins are one of the 3 major opioid peptides produced by the body.

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The study conducted by Zhi-Ling Guo UCI cardiology researcher and colleagues appears in the Nature's Scientific Reports.
Last year, the research team from UCI reported patients treated with acupuncture at certain wrist locations experienced drops in their blood pressure. The current study shows that repetitive electroacupuncture evokes a long-lasting action in lowering blood pressure.

Hypertension Facts and Statistics
  • About 75 million American adults have hypertension
  • 1 of 3 American adults has pre-hypertension
  • 970 million people worldwide have high blood pressure
  • 1.56 billion adults will develop hypertension by 2025
  • Complications due to high blood pressure lead to 9.4 million deaths every year worldwide
The research suggests that electroacupuncture therapy may be suitable for treating clinical hypertension.

Source: Medindia

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