Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension - Case Study

 A new recently published case study highlights the efficaciousness of acupuncture for the treatment of hypertension, high blood pressure. 

Acupuncture is shown applied to acupoint LI4. Researchers measured several key improvements as a result of acupuncture treatments. The patient had a significant reduction in blood pressure, fewer side effects from antihypertensive medications and an increased sense of well-being. The goal of the study was to measure the effects of acupuncture on hypertension for a patient having difficulty tolerating medications for the condition. The researchers concluded that acupuncture has a synergistic effect when combined with antihypertensive medication.

The patient highlighted in the study began with a blood pressure reading of 160/100 mm Hg. The first step of his treatment regime began with medication therapy, which was able to reduce his blood pressure to 150/99 mm Hg. However, he experienced flushing, palpitations, diarrhea, fatigue, decreased sexual function and a variety of other clinical disorders.

 Acupuncture was added to the regime and the blood pressure lowered to 128/85 mm Hg. By the seventh week of acupuncture treatments combined with medication therapy, the blood pressure averaged 130/80 mm Hg and the antihypertensive medication side effects completely disappeared. The patient no longer suffered from issues such as impotence, fatigue and diarrhea.

The acupuncture points used in the study were: LI4, LI11, ST36, ST9. Acupuncture needles were inserted bilaterally and perpendicularly to a depth of 0.8 to 1.0 cun. Tonification needle techniques were applied to LI11, ST36, and ST9 using a twirling technique for a duration of 1 minute. LI4 was stimulated with a twirling, reducing method for 1 minute. The total duration of needle retention per acupuncture treatment was 30 minutes. Additional points were added to eliminate the side effects of the blood pressure medications: CV4, CV6 and SP6. An intensive schedule of 60 acupuncture treatments over the course of 12 weeks was administered.

The authors of the study note that abundant research supports the use of acupuncture points LV3, LI11, GB20, ST36 and ST40 for the treatment of hypertension. The researchers chose the acupuncture point prescription for this patient based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) meridian theory. Yangming channel acupuncture points such as LI11, ST36 and LI4 were chosen for their ability to ‘reconcile qi and blood.’ Additionally, ST9 was included for its specific function in regulating qi and blood and because it is a meeting point of the Stomach and Gallbladder meridians. The authors also note ST9’s proximity to the carotid sinus and its specialized ability to regulate blood pressure.

Reference:
Zhang, Lili, Pengfei Shen, and Shu Wang. "Acupuncture treatment for hypertension: a case study." Acupuncture in Medicine (2013): acupmed-2013.

 

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