Acupuncture Treats High Blood Pressure


Middle-aged Americans face a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Now, a doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital is studying alternatives to drugs as a treatment. Dr. Randal Zusman, Director of blood-pressure medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, thinks he may have found one in the ancient Chinese technique of acupuncture.

“There is an extensive base of literature from Asia and Russia showing that acupuncture does indeed lower blood pressure,” he says.

Other researchers have already shown that special acupuncture needles, when gently inserted into specific points on the skin, can stimulate nerves that reach up into the brain and to cells in the brain that control blood pressure.

Now, in the most rigorous study of its kind, patients with high blood pressure —140 (systolic) over 90 (diastolic) or higher — are being given a series of 12 acupuncture treatments.

Zusman says that “A substantial number of our patients have responded with significant reductions in blood pressure”. Acupuncture's benefit can also be long lasting, say researchers. Some patients have found that their blood pressure remained normal

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