This suggests that the ancient Chinese therapy can lower the risk of stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart failure and heart attack. Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure levels in people with mild to moderate hypertension, say researchers from the Susan Samueli Centre for Integrative Medicine.
They tested acupuncture on a group of 66 hypertensive patients who were not taking any anti-hypertensive drugs. Half were given electro-acupuncture-a form of the therapy that uses low-intensity electrical stimulation-on both sides of the inner wrists and below each knee, which are considered the 'right' places, or meridian points, to treat high blood pressure.
The other group of 33 patients was given electro-acupuncture at the 'wrong' parts of the body.
Around 70 per cent of those who had been given correct acupuncture experienced a "noticeable" drop in their blood pressure levels, an average of 6 to 8 mmHg fall in their systolic blood pressure level (the high number), and a 4 mmHg reduction in their diastolic reading. There were also reductions in norepinephrine in the blood, a stress hormone that can constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure and glucose levels.
These improvements persisted for six weeks after the therapy.
However, no improvements in blood pressure readings were found in the other group who had been given 'wrong' acupuncture.
(Source: Medical Acupuncture, 2015; 27: 253)