NHC has been serving Chicagoland for over 20 years.

Acupuncture in the News

Study Demonstrates That Acupuncture Useful for Heart Problems


Acupuncture and Chinese herbology are frequently used together to treat various types of heart disease and dysfunction and many cardiac issues are treated here, at the Northside Holistic Center. Occasionally an interesting study or report will be published which illustrates the utility of this approach. Presented here are a smattering of those studies, added to as I come across them.

A recent Chinese study found that acupuncture was useful in preventing heart damage from a drug commonly used as an anti-nausea agent, droperidol. The research, which can be read about here, found that: 

[While] droperidol is used for the treatment of postoperative and chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting but may cause heart dysfunction. Researchers speculate that the cardioprotective mechanisms of electroacupuncture at PC6 and its success in preventing droperidol side effects may be due, in part, to acupuncture’s ability to regulate the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic tone. In the experiment, PC6 was administered as a pretreatment prior to the injection of droperidol. The researchers added, “Pretreatment of P6 EA (PC6 electroacupuncture) significantly reduced QTc prolongation induced by droperidol, and this property may be related to the up-regulation of Cx43 mRNA and protein, which may contribute to the transmural heterogeneity of repolarization and abbreviate the prolonged QT intervals in droperidol treated hearts.” This experiment demonstrates that acupuncture is an effective non-pharmaceutical approach to avoiding adverse events caused by medication therapy. 


Excerpted from an article about another study on cardiac function and acupuncture, which can be read here

New research from the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience shows that acupuncture controls the heart rate and increases the strength of cardiac autonomic function. This new research indicates that the use of specific acupuncture points may help to prevent heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) and arrhythmias.

Needling acupoint CV17 decreased the heart rate and increased the power of the high-frequency component of the HRV (heart rate variability), an index of the body’s ability to maintain control of the heart beat rate and rhythm through vagus nerve activity. The researchers conclude that CV17 “causes the modulation of cardiac autonomic function.”

HRV (heart rate variability) is the variance in time interval between heart beats. Reduced HRV is linked to mortality after myocardial infarction and a lowering of HRV is also linked to congestive heart failure, diabetic neuropathy, and low survival rates in premature babies. A reduction of HRV and its high-frequency component is common in patients with PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) and for individuals with increased heart rates due to stress.

This new research shows that the application of acupuncture to CV17 increases the power of the high-frequency component of HRV and simultaneously is able to lower the heart rate. This research demonstrates that acupuncture at CV17 is able to activate the autonomic nervous system to control the heart rate by increasing vagal activity. Depressed HRV after MI, a heart attack, reflects a decrease in vagal activity and leads to cardiac electrical instability. Since acupuncture at CV17 increases the cardiac vagal component of HRV, it may be an important acupuncture point for patients recovering from MI.

We treat many patients for heart problems such as tachycardia, brachycardia, palpitations as well as those which are secondary to other issues such as panic attacks, PTSD, menopause, as well as other idiopathic causes. This research bears out our experience.