By: Amal Elali and Ummulwara Qasim
Hypertension, the medical condition defined as high blood pressure, is a common disease found amongst many Americans, which increases their vulnerability to developing many heart diseases. In severe cases, the condition may lead to heart attacks or even a stroke . High blood pressure results when the blood in the heart is pushed against the artery walls, causing a higher pressure of blood to be forced through one’s arteries, thus resulting in high blood pressure.
Various forms of medical treatments and pharmacological approaches have been studied in order to provide methods of mitigating hypertension in patients. The scientists at University of California, Irvine have been studying a non-invasive method by utilizing a common practice found in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) known as acupuncture. By integrating the technique of acupuncture with common medical techniques found in Western medicine, they have studied the different effects acupuncture may have in many cardiovascular conditions . Out of the many possible heart conditions, scientists have found significant results when applying acupuncture to hypertensive conditions.
A specific type of acupuncture treatment, electroacupuncture uses small electrical currents that can be applied to various acupoints. This has been experimentally found to reduce long lasting elevated blood pressure by stimulating neurons that inhibit the reflex increase of blood pushing through the narrow arteries. Electrostatic acupuncture reduces the concentration of norepinephrine, a hormone, by engaging low intensity electrical stimulation at specific points on the body . Norepinephrine, which is normally found in high concentrations in patients that suffer with hypertension, is a hormone released in the body during stress or physiological changes. Therefore, reducing its amount in patients results in the decrease of blood pressure.
In general, acupuncture is a common practice that utilizes needles and applies them to different acupoints in the body to alleviate different types of ailments. Traditional Chinese medical practices comes from thousands of years of wisdom and experiences, and approaches medicine in a holistic view, thus providing a treatment plan to heal the body as a whole rather than just a specific area in the body.
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2. Li, P. Tjen-A-Looi, SC. Cheng, L. Liu, D. Painovich, J. Vinjamury, S. Longhurst, JC. 2015. “Long-Lasting Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electroacupuncture in Patients with Hypertension: Randomized Controlled Trial.” Medical Acupuncture. Volume: 27.
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