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Acupuncture’s Ability To Help Patient’s Suffering From Heart Failure

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A progressively worsening condition, heart failure is characterized by a worsening of the ability of the heart to pump enough supply of blood throughout the body. It is usually the result of injuries to the cardiovascular system, from years of high blood pressure, or a heart attack, and according to the Heart Failure Society of America, deaths related to this condition kills about a quarter of a million Americans each year. Severe fatigue with exercise and shortness of breath are some of the most debilitating consequences of heart failure. The good news is that a millennia-old non-drug treatment known as acupuncture can improve significantly exercise tolerance in patients with chronic heart failure, according a new study conducted by German medical researchers.

This new study recently printed in the medical journal Heart, had participants in stable condition, all suffering from heart failure and who were all taking Western conventional drugs. They were divided into two groups with both groups believing they were getting ten real acupuncture treatments. The truth was that only one group was being given real acupuncture based on the practice of traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. These therapies stimulated acupoints that were considered to help lessen inflammation markers, influence the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, and improve general strength. The other group was administered with placebo needles that imitated acupuncture needle pricks that did not involve breaking the skin.

Results of the Study

The patients treated with real acupuncture could walk far longer than those in the placebo group. Furthermore, the heart patients treated with real acupuncture recuperated more quickly after exercise and stated that they felt less exhausted, even though their heart’s measured work capacity remained unchanged.

How Was Acupuncture Able to Improve the Symptoms of Heart Failure?

Headed by Heidelberg University Hospital cardiologist Johannes Backs, M.D., the research team explained in a press statement that studies done previously have revealed that heart failure patients’ ability to tolerate exercise is not associated with the heart’s pumping function of the heart and seems to mainly stem from the muscles. In chronic heart failure, chemical messengers of Inflammation in the blood go up which is what causes the muscles to tire easily, resulting in severe fatigue.

The level of blood of a specific messenger known as TNF alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha), in reality actually goes down after a treatment of real acupuncture. In a press statement, one of the authors of the study, Arnt Kristen states that the decrease in muscle strength and mass caused by TNF alpha can help explain acupuncture’s positive effect on the function of the musculoskeletal system.

Heart failure is much more complex than what was previously assumed and it involves autonomic nervous system and various nerve transmitters imbalance, the research team noted. This is where acupuncture can precisely help as it can help restore balance into these processes. In a press statement, the researchers explained that acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory affect and improves excitation (the autonomic sympathetic nervous system) as well relaxation (the parasympathetic nervous system).

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Written by Valerie

November 15th, 2016 at 5:10 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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