Chinese Medicine and High Blood Pressure
Hypertension and it's sequelae are frequent complaints at our clinic and the combination of acupuncture and herbology can usually make a lasting difference in both pressure readings as well as in how the client feels.
Recently, the University of Southern California of Los Angeles and Irvine have found one of the mechanisms by which this may happen and published it in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (You can more read about the study here)
The research notes that acupuncture reduces hypertension by stimulating brain neurons, electrically excitable cells that transmit information. A decrease in the neural activity of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM) decreases SNS activity and reduces blood pressure. The researchers “have shown that electroacupuncture stimulation activates neurons in the arcuate nucleus, ventrolateral gray, and nucleus raphe to inhibit the neural activity in the rVLM in a model of visceral reflex stimulation-induced hypertension.” In this way, acupuncture treatment reduces high blood pressure through downregulation of excess sympathetic nerve activity.
While there are undoubtedly many other mechanisms by which this happens, it is exciting to see more western researchers becoming interested in a disease which affects one out of three people in the United States alone.