Hypertension (high blood pressure) is defined as repeated blood pressure readings above 140/90. Often, we don’t check our blood pressure regularly and this condition can sneak up on us. Typically without symptoms, hypertension can silently cause dangerous changes in your body, including vessel changes in the retina, thickening of your heart muscle, brain damage and kidney failure.
In traditional medicine, there is no definitive cause identified in 95% of cases. You may have been treated with one or multiple medications that are typically increased over time. A responsible doctor will also advise you on natural methods for lowering blood pressure including exercise, weight management, stress relief, a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and lowered sodium intake. These should be components of any plan to treat hypertension, whether or not you are on medications.
Sometimes, these changes are easier said than done. It frustrates me to see how many of my patients have been given little to no coaching on these critical aspects of treatment from their doctor. In my office, I have helped many patients to naturally lower their blood pressure, often lowering stress and cholesterol in the process. In addition to personalized nutrition and exercise recommendations, we take a look at the underlying imbalances in your body that are causing elevation of your blood pressure. Chinese medicine identifies several patterns. Using your individual diagnosis, I can help you to resolve hypertension through acupuncture and herbal medicine. My patients appreciate that while their blood pressure is normalizing, they experience no discomfort or side effects. Some patients, with cooperation from their doctor, are able to completely stop their medications. Others are able to reduce the number of medications or dosages to a safer level, thus experiencing fewer side effects.
From a scientific perspective, clinical practice and laboratory studies have proven that acupuncture lowers hypertension mainly through blocking beta receptors of the sympathetic nerve and stimulating the adrenaline-angiotensin system. Studies have also shown that the descending of elevated blood pressure after acupuncture is a result of regulation of the whole body.
Once your blood pressure has returned to normal, it is typically well-sustained if you continue to practice healthy habits.