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Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture Can Help Lower and Stabilize High Blood Pressure

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Based on figures provided by the American Heart Association almost 78 million adults in the US suffer from high blood pressure. That’s one out of three adults Americans. Additional data gathered by NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) spanning the years 2007 to 2010 show that about half of these adults do not have their high blood pressure under control. You have high blood pressure if your systolic reading is 140 or above and diastolic reading is 90 or above. Up to the age of 45, more men suffer from this condition than women but from the ages 45 to 64, the percentage is about the same. By the age of 64 and above, women have a higher percentage rate. In another survey, a third of adult Americans have blood pressure ranges that are higher than normal but not quite in the high range, or are pre-hypertensive.

What Are the Causes of High Blood Pressure?

There are several factors that may chronically raise your blood pressure levels. Here are a few of them:

Family History
Drug abuse (amphetamine, cocaine)
Prescription drugs (corticosteroid drugs for asthma, analgesics, hormone therapy, birth control pills)
Thyroid disease
Kidney disease

Risk factors include:

Poor nutrition
Sedentary life/lack of physical activity

Ways to Diagnose High Blood Pressure

Besides a blood pressure reading, people can know if they have high blood pressure by getting an ASI (adrenal stress index) test that measures levels of DHEA and cortisol or a blood test. DHEA and cortisol are hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. These are the hormones that bring about a fight or flight response in us and are easily affected by imbalances in the endocrine system, specifically, in the thyroid gland. These tests can help us know what factors have been responsible for the development of high blood pressure. Unfortunately, many of these factors commonly occur in our lives and they can be avoided but more often not are overlooked. When making an evaluation, we deem the following elements potentially contribute to high blood pressure/hypertension:

Circulatory blockages (such as micro blood stasis)
Immune deficiencies
Inflammatory conditions
Metabolic acidosis
Metabolic syndrome
Mineral insufficiencies
Food allergies
Cortisol resistance and elevation

How Can Acupuncture in Tarzana Stabilize Our Blood Pressure?

Acupuncture stabilizes blood pressure by influencing the nervous system and the neuroendocrine system, a complex system that’s made up of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus. Our metabolism and hormones are both regulated by our endocrine system. The ANS or autonomous nervous system has two components: The sympathetic nervous system from which the fight or flight response comes from and which plays a role in regulating the blood volume and vascular tone of the heart and the PMS or parasympathetic nervous system (digest and rest), that regulates body processes such as breathing and blood pressure; the CNS or central nervous system is a two-way communication street comprising the spinal cord (vertebrae) and the brain. The CNS processes all information from external stimuli and the body. Information is gathered by the nervous system, dispatched through the vertebrae to the brain. The brain then transmits signals to the body through the same process.

With regards to research, there are ongoing studies dealing with acupuncture’s regulatory effect on the endocrine system, and how acupuncture can help rebalance the levels of hormone in the body. These studies dealt with reproductive hormones, corticosteroids, and thyroid hormones. Recent research also shows the effects of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system via various studies dealing with ANS disorders such as epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), insomnia, and anxiety. There has been a rise in neuroimaging studies on acupuncture’s effects on brain centers over the past ten years. This is due to the significant headways that have been achieved in the realm of imaging technologies. An electroacupuncture study showed the treatment stimulating certain regions of the brain generating a hypotensive effect through the central nervous system.

Recent studies suggest that an overactive sympathetic nervous system can significantly contribute to high blood. When the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) becomes dominant or over-stimulated, it causes the heart arteries to constrict; which results in high blood pressure. Current research efforts reveal that acupuncture follows a mechanism that down-regulates the SNS resulting in the lowering of blood pressure. One research saw that electroacupuncture stimulates the brain neurons, which slows down SNS activity by activating nociceptin and the opioid system (enkephalins and endorphins). These opioids balance the baroreflex control system, which is a feedback loop between the parasympathetic nervous system, SNS, central nervous system (vertebrae), the brain, and the heart. The parasympathetic nervous system inhibits SNS activity when the sympathetic nerve activity is stimulated in this feedback loop, which in the process reduces blood pressure.

Certain studies have shown that acupuncture can outperform a commonly prescribed angiotensin called Captopril. This is a drug prescribed by doctors to help lower high blood pressure. One of these studies compared electroacupuncture to Captopril and showed that electroacupuncture produced more significant results in controlling blood pressure than Western medication (Captoril). Another study conducted in Germany compared the effects of acupuncture to antihypertensive drugs. The results revealed acupuncture’s ability to lower blood pressure was comparable to mono-therapies using ACE – inhibitors.

Acupuncture Points and Nerves

In addressing hypertension, acupuncturists may choose a specific combination of acupuncture points that may depend on the specific manifestations of high blood pressure and their root causes. An acupuncturist can have several options to choose from on (e.g., auricular acupoints, distal points on the extremities, back or front side of the body). When acupuncturists select back points, some of which are points that are organ specific (which can be Heart specific) or called back shu points, they usually select the Bl 14 (Tsueyinshu) or Bl 15 (Hsinshu). These two acupoints are related to the heart and pericardium respectively. They are found in the upper thoracic region at the T4 and T5 spinal cord that innervate the heart through the sympathetic nerves. The TCM functions of these acupoints are as follows:

BL 14 (Tsueyinshu)

Lowers and normalizes Qi
Unbinds the chest
Stabilizes the heart

BL 15 (Hsinshu)

Cleanses heart fire
Removes blood stasis and releases the chest
Soothes the Shen (spirit or the sympathetic nervous system)
Normalizes Heart Qi
Nourishes and tonifies the Heart

Eastern Medicine Treatment of High Blood Pressure

Eastern medicine is made up of several variations and forms of treatments that a practitioner can choose from. Because of this, the blood pressure treatment protocols may differ from practitioner to practitioner based on their viewpoint and style, as well as on the manifestations of the disease. In most treatment plans, herbal therapy usually takes precedence. Acupuncture is considered an adjunct therapy. Why is this so? Because acupuncture works at a superficial level while herbs tend to have a more profound effect and can continued to be used at home. However, when these two modalities are used alongside each other, they become a cohesive treatment strategy that is extremely effective at resolving the symptoms and their root cause.

Regardless of the cause of one’s high blood pressure, for any therapy to be truly effective, changes in the person’s lifestyle is needed that can lead to the healthy future of the heart. These changes include:

Adequate and quality sleep
Light exercise such as meditation, yoga, Qigong, or Tai chi
Physical exercise approved by your doctor/acupuncturist
Nutritional and dietary changes

Written by Valerie

July 4th, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Chinese Herbal Therapy and Acupuncture can Dramatically Reduce High Blood Pressure

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A third of the population of the United States suffers from high blood pressure, sometimes called hypertension. This seemingly ubiquitous condition has spread primarily because of a sedentary lifestyle and increased stress. The good news is that holistic therapies such as acupuncture can assist n the betterment of your overall health and in the management of high blood pressure.

What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?

High blood pressure is a rise in blood pressure above normal levels, suggesting a rise in heart muscle contraction and/or a rise in vascular resistance. A person with normal blood pressure would have a measurement of 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension is a state in which the blood pressure goes over 140/90 mmHg. Hypertension is grimly known as “the silent killer” since this condition usually gives out few symptoms before it turns fatal. If not treated, hypertension can result in a high likelihood of kidney failure, heart attack, and/or strokes.

There are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary hypertension. People who suffer from primary hypertension are unaware of the cause of their condition. Secondary hypertension sufferers, on the other hand develop their condition due to various factors including side effects of medication, cancer, endocrine problems, and kidney diseases.

Modern Western medicine treatments for hypertension are long-term and involve the use of pharmaceutical drugs coupled with lifestyle changes. A combo of ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, dopamine derivatives, bête blockers, and diuretics are prescribed to help manage the blood pressure. Other ways to control hypertension is by regular exercise, eating a healthy salt-free diet, cessation of tobacco and alcohol use, and proper management of stress.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It is a system of holistic medicine and along with Chinese Herbal therapy, is one the most important modes of treatment in Chinese Medicine. During an acupuncture treatment procedure, sterile filiform needles are used and inserted into points on the skin to induce a normalizing effect on the body. These points are called acupuncture points or acupoints, for short and they are located on the surface of the skin just above underlying energy channels known as meridians. Meridians connect the acupoints to specific vital organs in the body. When a needle is inserted into skin a light electric sensation is generated that stimulates the associated meridian.

Time and time again, acupuncture has proved to be clinically effective in treating a wide range of health conditions even if the exact mechanisms as to how it works are not yet fully understood. It is an excellent treatment for pain and painful conditions. In fact, it is oftentimes used in lieu of anesthesia in surgical procedures. The potency of acupuncture highlights its significant physiological effects. However, more clinical studies need to be done to validate the clinical effectiveness of this treatment on other health issues.

How Does Acupuncture Treat Hypertension?

There is no description of hypertension in ancient Chinese medical texts. Chinese medicine accounted for the different physiological processes that surrounded the condition. In Chinese medicine, there are a number of physiological relationships existing between each of the internal organs. Any disturbance to these relationships can result in a rise of certain patterns of disease. Through traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic tools such as listening of the patient’s symptoms and signs, palpation of the pulse of the radial artery and the observation of the tongue of the patient, an acupuncturist can determine the exact pattern diagnosis. From there, the acupuncturist can treat the right combination of acupoints to balance the body.

Usually, Chinese medicine considers hypertension the result of a disharmony of the Liver organ. It should be noted that in Chinese medicine, when we talk about the Liver (or any vital organ) we are not necessarily referring to the liver as a physical organ in the body. In Chinese medicine, the Liver is seen as the organ responsible for the normalization of Blood and the smooth flow of Qi (pronounced chee)i n the body. Oftentimes, acupuncturists diagnose Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, Liver Qi Stagnation, and/or Liver Yang Rising as the most common patterns causing high blood pressure.

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency – This pattern of disharmony develops when the body’s yin energy begins to weaken due to aging. The yin energy of these organs literally start to dry up. When this happens, there is not enough yin to balance and contain the yang energy of the body. The result is the heat rising up, which consequentially raises blood pressure. Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency causes several types of age-related symptoms, including menopause. Acupuncturists treat the Liver 3, Kidney 3, and Spleen 6 acupoints to increase the cooling capacity of yin energy of the body.

Liver Qi Stagnation – A stressful lifestyle often results in this type of pattern of disharmony. Typical symptoms include PMS, tight muscles, digestive disorders, agitation, and sensation of distension in the head. The tight muscles constrict the body causing added resistance to blood and energy flow. Acupuncturists select the Liver 3 and Large Intestine 4 points to treat this pattern. This combination of acupoints contains analogous locations on each foot and hand producing a powerful circulation that is able to destroy the blockage to the flow of blood and energy.

Liver Yang Rising – This pattern is due to an unexpected upward movement of Yang Qi to the face and head. A bitter taste in the mouth, headaches, sudden dizziness, red eyes, and anger are some of the symptoms of Liver Yang Rising. From this pattern, emotions that are hard to control can come about. It is important to subdue the rising Qi by needling the acupoints Stomach 36, Liver 2, and Kidney 1. All these points are found in the lower legs and feet, which force Yang energy to go downward.

Supplemental Information

Besides the aforementioned acupuncture points, a good number of extra points are selected as well to help manage the high blood pressure and regulate blood pressure. Many acupoints on the ear are treated and they oftentimes produce quick results and are very effective in managing high blood pressure and normalizing blood pressure. These include bleeding points on the backside and tip of the ear. These ear acupoints are usually included in combination with the aforementioned body acupoints to boost the effect of the therapy.

The acupuncture point Stomach 9 found in the neck adjacent to the carotid artery can instantly lower the blood pressure and is very helpful in controlling blood pressure during moments of emergency. Acupuncturists seldom treat this point bilaterally because it can lead to a state of low blood pressure (hypotension) because of its ability to lower blood pressure very quickly.

Acupuncture Treatment to Help Manage High Blood Pressure in Pembroke Pines

Acupuncture treatments done on a regular basis can help alleviate the symptoms of several kinds of health issues as well as help balance the disharmonies of your body. Receiving acupuncture treatments several times a week for the initial few weeks may be required to properly manage hypertension. Once your blood pressure has been stabilized, the number of treatments can be reduced. Acupuncture treatments can be a way to lessen or even stop the intake of your high blood pressure medication, under the guidance of your doctor, of course. Nowadays, the use of integrative forms of treatment is increasingly being adopted by doctors on hypertensive patients who desire to minimize or avoid the longstanding side effects of pharmaceutical medications.

The use of acupuncture treatment along with Chinese Herbal Therapy greatly augments the effectiveness of hypertension treatment. Also, only receive treatment from a licensed acupuncturist.

Written by Valerie

March 26th, 2016 at 8:54 am

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Acupuncture As Well as Dietary and Lifestyle Changes are Needed to Properly Control High Blood Pressure

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Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 individuals suffer from high blood pressure. And since this condition does not show a lot of symptoms, it can remain undiagnosed for several years. The bad news is that high blood pressure that remains undiagnosed can lead to dangerous consequences such as kidney failure, stroke, or heart attack. So, if you think you may be suffering from high blood pressure have yourself immediately checked up by your doctor.

High Blood Pressure Treatments

There are many available treatments for high blood pressure with the most popular being high blood pressure medications which is quite effective for most patients. The use of these medications can greatly lower blood pressure effectively and rapidly. However, as with almost all types of pharmaceutical products, these drugs come with adverse side effects. This has led many to avoid taking these drugs and instead has forced them to seek out safer and more natural forms of treatment. One such safe and effective treatment for high blood pressure is acupuncture.

Acupuncture for the Treatment of High Blood Pressure

Treating high blood pressure with acupuncture is a proven way to help lower the symptoms of this chronic condition. Acupuncture is a very old medical procedure. Ancient Chinese documents reveal that this form of treatment has been used for over 4,000 years to treat a wide range of health conditions including high blood pressure.

Although Western medicine has failed so far in explaining how acupuncture actually works, this treatment has been recommended for a broad variety of illnesses, from anxiety and stress relief to infertility.

Clinical studies done recently implied that high blood pressure acupuncture treatment primarily works by altering the way the brain controls the respiratory system – lowering the need for oxygen which means that the heart need not work as hard which then means a drop in blood pressure. One study recommends that acupuncture for high blood pressure only works when combined with mild electrical pulses.

One very important decision made by acupuncturists is the placement of the needles in the body. In the clinical study, high blood pressure was treated with acupuncture in thee forearms and wrists of humans. But it has also been proven anecdotally that placing needles in other parts of the body as well can be just effective in treating high blood pressure with acupuncture.

You need to ask your physician for advice about other natural forms of treatment for high blood pressure you use to help you with your problem. Some helpful tips to help reduce your blood pressure include reducing or avoiding stress or the use of salt which contribute in a big way to high blood pressure and consuming more vegetables and fruits. Acupuncture treatment for high blood pressure is recommended as a complementary form of treatment for this disease. But whatever form of treatment you use to fight high blood pressure, you need to become active, lower your stress, and eat the proper choice of foods in order to better control your condition.

Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.

Written by Valerie

March 13th, 2016 at 1:43 am

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Complementing Your High Blood Treatment with Acupuncture and TCM

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High blood pressure acupuncture in  Orlando is a very safe and effective alternative treatment for high blood pressure. In fact, it is the most widely used complementary form of treatment for this condition.

Acupuncture for the treatment of high blood pressure is a drug-free type of therapy acupuncture that takes advantage of the body’s psychological, energetic and physical energies to enable the body to heal itself. Some medical scientists believe that acupuncture is more potent than any lifestyle changes or single- drug therapy for high blood pressure.

There are a couple of approaches that TCM can use to treat high blood pressure. One approach is to treat the symptoms; the other is to treat the patient in a holistic manner. To resolve high blood pressure, the acupuncturist will need to needle the points as soon as a hypertension diagnosis is known. The needles are placed in the affected acupuncture points. The stimulation of these points will cause the raised blood pressure to fall.

In a lot of cases, the concrete and preexisting conditions of the patient are not taken into account. Usually, the acupuncturist will needle acupoints such as the LU 11 (shaoshang), ST 16 (hsusanli), and ST 9 (Renying). To prevent any complications from arising, the acupuncturist needs to exercise extreme caution.

Treating high blood pressure with acupuncture can be a challenging task since diagnosis is determined through the differentiation of syndromes. Medical aspects of each patient’s cases, including the signs and symptoms, especially the type of the pulse of the patient need to be thoroughly examined. This will help identify the nature and type of the specific case in order to select the correct medical approach to the treat the condition.

Based on the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture sees hypertension as having four primary kinds of syndromes:

Syndrome 1: Yin and Yang insufficiency”

This syndrome is marked by thin and taut pulse, tinnitus, a pale tongue with white coating, fatigue, palpitation and dizziness. These symptoms develop due to yin and yang’s insufficiency in the body.

Syndrome 2: Yin- insufficiency syndrome of the liver and kidney

The symptoms this syndrome holds include a taut and thin pulse, dry and red tongue with minimal coating, sleeplessness, weakness of the legs and waist, dizziness, and uncomfortable and dry sensation in the eyes. This syndrome occurs due to liver and kidney yin deficiency.

Syndrome 3: Excessive yang, deficient yin.

Symptoms: rapid pulse, palpitation, hot sensation in the soles and palms, dry mouth, dizziness and headache. This syndrome is caused by deficient liver yin and abundant liver yang.

Syndrome 4: Abundant liver- yang

Symptoms: restlessness, bitter taste in the mouth, flushed eyes and face, headache and dizziness. This syndrome is brought about by too much liver yang.

Written by Valerie

December 16th, 2014 at 6:39 am

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Acupuncture for High Blood Pressure

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As with all human health conditions, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views high blood pressure quite entirely different from that of western medicine. In order to have a healthy body and mind, TCM believes that the body needs to be in balance.  In essence the natural state of our body is a healthy body and any health issue or illness is due to some aspect in our body being in an imbalanced state. Thus it is the goal of TCM to bring the body back into balance to restore or attain good health. If not managed properly, high blood pressure can be a fatal condition. You can also view high blood pressure as your body’s warning to you to change certain aspects of your lifestyle.

In the United States, there has been an epidemic of high blood pressure for several years running. About a third of US citizens suffer from high blood pressure.

A person who has blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg and above is considered to have high blood pressure. If your BP reading is around 120/80 mm Hg, you have a normal BP rate. Blood pressure is also called hypertension. High blood pressure is a sign that an individual has a high likelihood for getting heart attacks, stroke or heart disease.

Women are more prone to heart disease caused by high blood pressure in the US. In fact, heart disease is the primary cause of death for women in this country.  Individuals with hypertension are thrice more likely to die from heart disease and have quadruple the risk of dying from a stroke. These sad facts are somewhat alleviated by the fact that high blood pressure is within the ability of the individual to control.

Many factors can lead to a person’s hypertension.  One factor is stress. Other major factors include lack of exercise, smoking, age, genetics and diet. Changing some of these factors can help you better lower your blood pressure.  One of the first and most important changes you can do to control this disease is to lower your stress level. Allow some time for yourself where you can relax and enjoy even if it’s for five minutes. If you have hypertension, you need to care of your health first before anything else.

Eating a healthy diet can likewise substantially decrease hypertension. Minimize or if you can completely eat a salt-less diet. Although some studies may dispute the role salt plays in hypertension, minimizing your salt intake is one healthy tip to heed.

Some of the biggest factors in developing high blood pressure are eating greasy foods and carbohydrates. Acupuncturists state that hot, warm foods are believed to create heat in the body which can lead to the elevation of your blood pressure. They suggest eating cool foods such as mung beans, watermelon, green apples, cucumber, celery and greens instead.

Besides these nutritional recommendations, acupuncture and TCM practitioners also suggest Chinese herbal formulas which are prescribed based on the person’s symptoms and unique constitution. Herbal formulas are given to patients on a case–to-case basis. Some of the herbal remedies given to hypertensive patients include Ju Hua, Xia Ku Cau, Tian Ma, Luo Bu Ma Ye and Shan zha. The exact quantity and combination of these herbs can differ from patient to patient.

Acupuncture can treat dozens of different kinds of conditions including blood pressure. One of the most important things acupuncture can give a person is relaxation which can help relieve stress which is more often the underlying cause of the problem.  Acupuncture therapy involves the insertion of ultra fine needles on specific parts of the body known as acupoints.  These acupoints are located just above energy pathways termed meridians. These are the vessels where vital energy called qi or chi flows throughout the body.  Imbalances in the body are believed to be the cause of chi blockage in or more of the meridians. Acupuncture is used to remove the blockages and allow chi to flow freely once more.

For hypertension, there are acupoints all over the body that might be used for treatment. TCM believes that hypertension is associated with rising of Liver Yang. The Liver in TCM refers to the liver organ system, not the organ itself thus it often capitalized. Imbalance in the Liver Yang is directly related to stress. Deficiency in the Kidney Yin is a condition also related to hypertension and is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle (lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, etc.). Acupoints for treating hypertension are scattered all over the body although the ER Jain acupoint located on the apex of the ear and the SP10 point found above the knee are common acupoints for hypertension therapy. One other acupoint for HBP is the ST 44 acupoint located between the third and second toe.

How many acupuncture sessions does a patient need to be cured of high blood pressure?  Many patients with high blood pressure are required to go at least once a week for acupuncture treatment. Acupuncturists often use herbal medicine in conjunction with acupuncture to get quicker results.   Besides acupuncture, other oriental modalities are known to also help lower blood pressure. These modalities include Qi Gong and Tai Chi. Both of these exercises are very relaxing to the mind and body and have been to known to relieve stress in the body quickly. These are rhythmic slow exercises that can send the person to a state of quiet meditation thus helping remove stress and at the same time give the person a light cardio workout.

Traditional Chinese medicine like all other types of holistic medicine endeavors to address the underlying cause of the patient’s condition, not merely his symptoms. Stress is indeed the greatest factor for high blood pressure as it can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and poor food choices.  By integrating relaxing exercises like Tai Chi and Qi Gong and using herbs and acupuncture, hypertensive patients can gain control of their life and watch their BP decrease to normal levels.

Written by Valerie

May 25th, 2014 at 7:45 am

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