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Targetting the Heart and Blood Vessels with Acupuncture

Close to the Heart: Acupuncture for Cardiovascular Health

Elias Lu, DTCM,

Acupuncture Physician

Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine in Tampa Bay, Florida

Woman runing up the stairs
  • Death from cardiovascular conditions, especially coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, represents a third of all-cause mortality

  • Acupuncture is an effective and low-cost therapy for treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases

  • Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine offers medically-sound and inexpensive acupuncture therapies in downtown St. Pete, Florida

Health Epidemic

Cardiovascular diseases represent a significant global health burden, encompassing a range of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. From hypertension and coronary artery disease to arrhythmias and heart failure, these disorders are the leading cause of death in the United States. While conventional treatments such as medications and surgery are commonly used to manage CVDs, acupuncture offers a holistic and complementary approach to addressing the underlying imbalances contributing to these conditions.

 

Understanding Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dating back more than 2000 years. It is based on neuroendocrine stimulation by the introduction of thin needles into specific points on the body surface. Recent studies support the utility of acupuncture in treating a wide spectrum of etiologies, including inflammation, dysautonomia, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.

 

Scientific Evidence

Acupuncture is a viable complementary therapy in managing a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including:

 

Hypertension

Acupuncture has been shown to reduce blood pressure by modulating the sympathetic nervous system, improving blood flow, and promoting relaxation. By targeting specific points on the body, such as the wrists, ankles, and ears, acupuncture may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications associated with hypertension.

 

Coronary artery disease

Acupuncture can help enhance myocardial perfusion, reduce inflammation, and improve overall cardiac function in individuals with coronary artery disease.

 

Arrhythmias

Acupuncture may help regulate cardiac rhythm, reduce palpitations, and improve heart rate variability in individuals with arrhythmias.

 

Heart failure

Acupuncture can help improve cardiac function, reduce fluid retention, and enhance exercise capacity in individuals with heart failure.

 

A recent study highlighted acupuncture’s potential in improving outcomes after cardiac surgery. It found that acupuncture after heart surgery was linked to:

 

  • Lower rates of post-operative atrial fibrillation.

  • Reduced pain, nausea, stress and anxiety.

  • Less time spent in ICU.

  • Decreased need for antiarrhythmic medication.

 

Acupuncture is also effective in treating peripheral vascular conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease, venous stasis, and lymphedema. For example, in patients with peripheral artery disease, acupuncture may help improve peripheral circulation, reduce claudication (leg pain), improve tissue oxygenation, and promote wound healing.

 

Acupuncture Mechanism

Recent studies indicate that acupuncture works by downregulating the sympathetic nervous systems (vasodilatory effect?), modulating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, improving vascular endothelium, lowering (bad) cholesterol, and reducing oxidative stress.

 

Bottom Line

Acupuncture offers a safe, natural, and effective approach to managing cardiovascular disease. Used in conjunction with conventional treatments, acupuncture can provide relief from symptoms, improve cardiovascular function, and enhance overall well-being. As research continues to explore the mechanisms and benefits of acupuncture, its role in integrative cardiovascular care is likely to expand, offering new opportunities for healing and wellness.

 

Acupuncture in Tampa Bay

Dr. Lu, DTCM, AP is comfortable working with your primary care doctor and/or cardiologist to introduce acupuncture to your therapeutic regimen.

References

Feingold, K. L., Moskowitz, J. T., Elenbaas, C., Andrei, A. C., Victorson, D., Kruse, J., Grote, V., Patil, K. D., Shafiro, T., Grimone, A., Lin, F., Davidson, C. J., Ring, M., & McCarthy, P. M. (2023). Acupuncture after valve surgery is feasible and shows promise in reducing postoperative atrial fibrillation: The ACU-Heart pilot trial. JTCVS open, 16, 321–332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xjon.2023.05.010

 

de Lima Pimentel, R., Duque, A. P., Moreira, B. R., & Rodrigues, L. F., Junior (2019). Acupuncture for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases: A Systematic Review. Journal of acupuncture and meridian studies, 12(2), 43–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jams.2018.07.005

 

Ni, Y. M., & Frishman, W. H. (2018). Acupuncture and Cardiovascular Disease: Focus on Heart Failure. Cardiology in review, 26(2), 93–98. https://doi.org/10.1097/CRD.0000000000000179

 

Zhou, J., Zhao, L., Meng, L., Liang, H., Zhou, T., Ye, S., Qi, Z., Huang, X., Zhou, P., & Fu, W. (2020). Acupuncture treatment for carotid atherosclerotic plaques: study protocol for a pilot randomized, single blinded, controlled clinical trial. Trials, 21(1), 768. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04709-0

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Dr. Elias Lu, DTCM is an acupuncture physician with Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine. In practice for over 25 years, he integrates traditional Chinese medicine with modern functional therapies to help people with chronic pain, trauma, neurodegenerative disorders, anxiety, depression, and many other life's challenges.

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