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Acupuncture Studies Reveal the Treatment’s Ability to Resolve Arrhythmia and Palpitations

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Reputed to be the oldest medical practice in the world, acupuncture has its roots in China around 5000. It was also practiced by the ancient Egyptians in about 1250 BC. Acupuncture was first mentioned specifically around 500 BC or 2500 years ago in the Nei Ching, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine published about 2500 years ago. Although it has been practiced in the United States for over a century and a half now, it was only in the early 1970s that the treatment got a big boost when James Reston, a New York Times reporter wrote an article detailing his surgery in China in which doctors used needles instead of medication to relieve his post-surgery pain. In 2006, the number of Americans who have used acupuncture reached over 3 million.

Medical journals have published peer-reviewed articles describing the efficacy of acupuncture in dealing with various types of conditions such as pelvic pain associated with pregnancy, hiccups, cocaine addiction and many others. So, it is not surprising to know that Italian researchers have discovered Cleveland’s acupuncture’s ability to prevent atrial fibrillation (AF).

The highly regarded Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology published this study that involved the participation of 80 patients suffering from persistent AF. These patients had just undergone successful cardioversion. Seventy percent of the patients were male and the patients’ average age was 65 years old. One third of them suffered from diabetes and the rest experienced accompanying hypertension. They all showed normal left ventricular ejection fraction (52% to 61%). They showed no signs of congestive heart failure or heart disease and had a left atrial diameter of 36 to 43 mm. An average of three years has passed since they were diagnosed with AF.

Thirty three percent or 26 of the subjects were taking amiodarone before their cardioversion and they continued taking it for the rest of the study. These subjects belonged to the Amio (short for amiodarone) group. The rest of the patients were randomly designated to either get acupuncture treatment (17 patients, Acu group), no follow-up treatment (24 patients, Control group), or sham acupuncture (13 patients, sham acu group).

Acupuncture points

Acupuncture is a healing technique involving the sticking of thin, solid, and sharp needles at certain points on the body known as acupuncture points or acupoints, for short. These acupoints are found on channels and meridians known to facilitate the flow of Qi (Chi, energy) all over the body. In the Italian clinical trial, three specific points were used. They include:

1. BL 15 or Xinshu: This acupoint is found on the meridian associated with the bladder proximate to where the fifth rib joins the vertebrae on the left side of the back. When the BL 15 is stimulated, it can have a regulating effect on the ANC (autonomic nervous system).

2. HT 7 or Shenmen: Found on the meridian related to the heart in the depression between the pisform bones and the ulna. near the wrist’s crease on the side of the little finger. The HT 7 is also known as the Spirit Gate and when it’s stimulated can help calm irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, and anxiety.

3. PC 6 or Neiguan: Found on the pericardium channel between the two tendons on the inner arm, approximately two finger’s width above the crease of the wrist. The PC 6 controls pulse rate and the flow of blood. When the Neiguan is stimulated, it can counteract a fullness sensation in the chest and palpitations. Proof also exists showing that the stimulation of this acupoint can help restore balance to the autonomic nervous system.

Back to the Italian trial, both the members of the Acu sham group and The Acu group attended ten acupuncture sessions once each week. In the Acu sham group, needles were applied in areas at least 2 cm from an acupuncture point. In the following 12 months, 44 percent of patients (35 patients) experienced recurring afib.

The results showed that statistically speaking, there was major difference between the rate of recurrence in the Acu and Amio groups. However, in the Acu sham and control groups the rate of recurrence was markedly higher.

The researchers state that ample proof exist showing acupuncture effectiveness in treating both supraventricular tachycardia and hypertension. Needling the Xinshu and Neiguan acupoints both result in the stabilization and modulation of the autonomic nervous system, while stimulating the Shenmen acupoint helps sedate and calm cardiac excitability. According to the researchers, “acupuncture has the capacity to prevent arrhythmic recurrence after cardioversion in patients suffering from persistent AF. This treatment is extremely safe, noninvasive and well tolerated.”

Written by Valerie

April 25th, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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