NEW GUIDELINES for BLOOD PRESSURE!

November, 2017:

After analyzing data from a survey of over 9,000 people, the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) released new guidelines resulting in:

…a substantial increase in the prevalence of hypertension but a small increase in the percentage of U.S. adults recommended antihypertensive medication. …” More information (including this quote) found here.

More from the American Heart Association here. 

If you’re concerned about how this may affect you, any diagnosis or treatment you have or may need, please consult your doctor. You might consider how acupuncture may help.

RESEARCH ON ACUPUNCTURE FOR TREATMENT OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Searching PubMed (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health) for “acupuncture + high blood pressure” currently returns 473 results with links to published research. Included below is a sample (with quotes from the articles):

 

Acupuncture Lowers High Blood Pressure

“The study discovered that patients taking antihypertensive medications benefitted from further reductions in blood pressure by adding acupuncture to the treatment regime. As a result, the researchers concluded that ‘acupuncture should be in the hypertension treatment guidelines and widely used for blood pressure regulation.’ ”

Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension Finding

“…This is a modern example of combining acupuncture with medications to achieve optimum results in patient outcomes. …

Abdominal and auricular acupuncture reduces blood pressure in hypertensive patients

“CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrated that abdominal electro-acupuncture for 6 weeks reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and auricular acupuncture had a short-term adverse effect on both SBP and DBP.”

Acupuncture Reduces Hypertension…

Research conducted at the University of California Los Angels [sic] and UC Irvine has uncovered a mechanism by which acupuncture lowers blood pressure for hypertension patients.”

Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension…

“Published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the research team discovered that acupuncture exerts long-lasting therapeutic effects for hypertension patients. The normalization of blood chemistry in response to acupuncture stimulation allows the effects of the acupuncture to last well beyond the treatment period. …

… In a related study, researchers at the University of California, Irvine and University of California, Los Angeles concluded that acupuncture lowers high blood pressure. The investigated the effective action of acupuncture points P5, P6, LI10 and LI11 combined with electroacupuncture. The researchers found that acupuncture successfully reduces hypertension. Additionally, it was discovered that the application of this acupuncture treatment prescription protocol protected heart tissues and reduced arrhythmias.

They also measured how acupuncture achieves positive clinical outcomes for patients with high blood pressure. It was discovered that electroacupuncture stimulates neurons in specific brain regions that control sympathetic nerve stimulation throughout the body. The investigators mapped the neurological network stimulated by acupuncture and concluded that it is acupuncture’s ability to activate brain centers that allows it to lower high blood pressure.”

The effect of acupuncture on high blood pressure of patients using antihypertensive drugs

“The aim here is not to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture and drug therapy on blood pressure, but to simply report that on patients currently using antihypertensive medication, acupuncture facilitated a significant reduction in blood pressure and reduced the patients complaints. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggest that acupuncture should be in the hypertension treatment guidelines and widely used for blood pressure regulation.”

Gentle Acupuncture & Needle Fear

I think I’m pretty good at working with people who have some fear about acupuncture because of the needles. For one, I let patients know that in No Event am I going to do something they don’t want me to do and that I will only perform acupuncture after asking them if it’s okay. I also remind them that I will only be working in a specific location that we’ve talked about and that they have the power to say “not there”.

So essentially, I:

  • remind them that they’re in control
  • that nothing happens without their consent
  • that they can consent and then change their mind

In the treatment room, I can use needles that are more gentle, intended for children or babies, and employ techniques that are mild in nature.

I let them know that some patients, on the other end of this spectrum, prefer “stronger techniques” and that as practitioners, we don’t always know which techniques a patient will prefer or respond best to. Communication is key.

I assure them that I’ll be conservative in my approach and will give a lighter treatment, even at the risk of non-effectiveness, instead of a stronger treatment, and that we can always build up to stronger-feeling treatments if they like and as they’re ready.

Some patients prefer to see the needles first while others prefer not to, so together we decide best approaches to facilitate comfort and ease. I can also describe how thin needles are, more similar to the width of a hair than what they may have experienced at doctor’s offices. I also ask if they have any concerns or questions around safety and that I’m trained to be safe.

Also, some prefer to chat or listen through the act of insertion and others prefer silence so they can breathe in/out without disruption. We discuss their preferences and then I take steps to honor them. At any time, we can slow down or stop altogether.

So this:

  • creates the expectation of mellow, starting simple/light
  • reminds them that different people respond and prefer different techniques
  • reminds them they’re in control and we’re in this together

If they elect for just one insertion, I let them know this is a great start and that some entire treatments are just that: they shouldn’t feel like it’s not a full treatment. If they like, I will hang out with them for a few minutes making sure they’re comfortable with the feeling acupuncture produces, which is typically quite calming but is also something one feels.

We discuss whether they want me to check in on them and I give them a bell to ring me if they need me to come for immediate assistance. If they say they want to be checked in 5 minutes, I tell them that “I will return in 5minutes, not 6 or more minutes. I’m going to set a timer” and then I do.

Together, we make agreements that are followed, which helps establish trust. Anxiety and/ or panic can rise and blossom so I try to be very diligent in approach so that they trust that I’ll be there if they need me.

Acupuncture is typically relaxing, calming, sometimes even sedating, and some describe a sort of floaty sleep-like session, an “acu-nap”. Acupuncture can be very good for people who have anxiety, insomnia, depression, etc. Once they feel it, they typically come back for more. Acupuncture can be great for sensitive people.

 

 

What about the research (RCT, randomized controlled trial) on Chinese medicine?

Search to see if there’s published research in a subject area that interests you.

On 3/1/2016, I searched several acupuncture topics (for fun) on MedPub (a database of the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health). I could have easily chosen other search examples such as “acupuncture + digestion” or “acupuncture + nausea and vomiting” but here are some examples of how many research trials were found:

“acupuncture” yielded 24,194 results

“acupuncture pain” yielded 6,493 results

“acupuncture low back pain” yielded 607 results

“acupuncture cancer” 1,263 results

“acupuncture chronic pain” 1,392 results

“acupuncture pregnancy” 849 results

“acupuncture migraine” 403 results

“acupuncture anxiety” 548 results

“acupuncture depression” 793 results

And one example:

JAMA, journal of the AMA, a meta analysis (comparing research studies) of 17,922 patients, regarding back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain, found that “acupuncture was superior to both sham and no-acupuncture control for each pain condition – – Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option”

[ Oct 2012:   http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357513 ]

Definition “Research”: Webster’s 2nd Edition, c.1934 (1910)

websters cover 1934 red.jpgresearch def websters 1934 1910  red.jpg

 

From http://www.merriam-webster.com March, 2016:

Full Definition of research

  1. 1:  careful or diligent search

  2. 2:  studious inquiry or examination; especially :  investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

  3. 3:  the collecting of information about a particular subject

What conditions does acupuncture treat?

“Since at least 200 BC, the application and effects of acupuncture and herbs have been documented. It is only recently, however, that systematic exploration of Chinese Medicine using the scientific method has become more recognized and accepted in the West.

Chinese and Western scientists have proven that acupuncture does indeed increase levels of endogenous morphine-like substances. Clinical studies of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of illnesses have led to acupuncture’s acceptance beyond pain control.

The following is the World Health Organization’s now famous list of diseases that lend themselves to treatment by acupuncture. The inclusion of herbal remedies in a scope of practice may broaden the range of disorders that may be successfully treated.” 

http://www.pacificcollege.edu/resources/about-medicine/treatable-disorders ]

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Acute and chronic colitis

Acute and chronic gastritis

Acute bacillary dysentery

Acute duodenal ulcer (without complication)

Chronic duodenal ulcer (pain relief)

Constipation

Gastric hyperacidity

Gastroptosis

Diarrhea

Hiccough

Irritable bowel and colitis

Paralytic ileus

Spasms of esophagus and cardia

Gynecological Disorders

Benign amenorrhea

Benign irregular menstruation

Dysmenorrhea

Infertility (Not WHO recognized. Clinical experience proves effective.)

Menopause syndrome

PMS

Cardiovascular Disorders

Essential hypertension

Neurological Disorders

Cervicobrachial syndrome

Disc problems

Facial palsy (early stage, within three to six months)

Headache and migraine

Intercostal neuralgia

Meniere’s Disease

Neurogenic bladder dysfunction

Nocturnal enuresis

Paresis following stroke

Peripheral neuropathies

Trigeminal neuralgia

Musculo-skeletal Disorders

Arthritis

Fibromyalgia

“Frozen shoulder”, “tennis elbow”

Localized traumatic injuries, sprains, strains, tendonitis, contractures

Low back pain

Muscle pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness

Osteoarthritis

Sciatica

Work and sports related injuries

Respiratory System Disorders

Acute bronchitis

Acute rhinitis

Acute sinusitis

Acute tonsillitis

Bronchial asthma

Common cold

Disorders of the Eye, Ear, Nose & Mouth

Acute and chronic pharyngitis

Acute conjunctivitis

Cataract (without complications)

Central retinitis

Gingivitis

Myopia (in children)

Toothaches, post extraction pain

Psychological Disorders

Anxiety

Depression

Hypersomnia

Insomnia

OCD

PTSD

Somatization disorder

Other Disorders

Appetite suppression

Withdrawal from street and pharmacological drugs

One of my favorite questions people ask me about acupuncture…

Question: Do I get acupuncture and who do I see?

Answer and Explanation: Yes, I do (sometimes) and I sometimes see different practitioners based on what health concern(s) I’m working on, usually not at the same time. If it is at the same time, I tell each practitioner what kinds of other work I’m getting or doing so we’re all on the same page and so recommendations don’t overlap (for example, I’ll take herbs from only one practitioner at any given time).

Sometimes I’m using Chinese medicine to treat one thing and sometimes I’m using it to treat another, or another, etc. For example, if the condition is physical pain-related, I may opt for a practitioner who works with that specific condition or otherwise treats a lot of musculo-skeletal pain. Generally-speaking, we all work with conditions of pain, but some will have sub-specialties in certain types of pain (example: someone who focuses on the neck or joints or whatever).

Because acupuncturists (as we are called) often have specialties or sub-specialties, I try to pay attention (and ask questions!) regarding what practitioners are focusing on in their continued studies, which we all do. Some may be particularly strong in the area of herbal medicine, medicinal massage, a particular style of acupuncture (of which, there are many), etc.

If I’m looking instead for treatments for a different kind of health concern, like to improve my energy levels, sleep, digestion, stress, than I may work with another practitioner based on fit, their training and approach, etc.

I think Chinese medicine generally works better when utilized as a series of appointments so depending on whether it’s an acute or chronic condition, I consider how many appointments, and how often will I get them (weekly, 2x p/week, more often?) and for how many weeks. Sometimes I like to consider a routine 4-6 appointments just to see how I’m responding to a round of treatments.

As a general note: For acute conditions, sometimes one can need less appointments and for chronic conditions, sometimes one can need multiple rounds of treatments. Alternatively, sometimes just a random appointment on a monthly basis can be very nice as a “tune-up” (of sorts) or perhaps, as a preventive measure to help the body stay in harmony.

It’s amazing how much variety can be found within the field of acupuncture! I can’t emphasize that enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME

Hello. My name is Sheilah. I am starting my first blog here. My intention with this site is to share tidbits about Chinese medicine, and acupuncture specifically, that pique my curiosity in the hopes that maybe others will find something helpful or interesting.

Another intention is to help potential patients of acupuncture get to know me a bit so they may have a sense of whether I may be a good choice for working with them on their health concerns.

I will probably include other types of musings just because life overlaps and there’s probably some way I believe them to be related.

Chinese medicine looks at the “big picture”, looks to patterns of harmony and disharmony in nature, to help understand how the body works and how better health may be restored. You’ll probably see various posts about change in nature since this is one way I learn about changes in the human body.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you’re interested in discussing how this medicine may help you. (415) 730-4144