(Natural News) Adding to its wide range of health benefits, a recent study found that acupuncture can help prevent and even treat hypertension or high blood pressure in middle-aged individuals.
Acupuncture has been around for millennia and although its practitioners and followers have consistently sworn by its ability to treat a wide variety of health issues, it was only in recent years that formal scientific inquiries have confirmed its beneficial effects. In fact, even the World Health Organization (WHO) has accepted it as an effective alternative treatment for both chronic and mild conditions.
The study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, sought to confirm if acupuncture can indeed benefit hypertensive people. The researchers randomly assigned 23 people to an acupuncture group and 22 individuals to a control group. Those in the treatment group received an eight-week acupuncture therapy intervention.
Before and after treatment, all participants went through examinations that determined their brachial and aortic blood pressure, wave reflection (AIx), and arterial stiffness (SI). After treatment, those in the acupuncture group exhibited lower figures in all areas, indicating that not only is acupuncture capable of lowering blood pressure, it is also able to improve arterial strength and health.
Notably, a decrease in both wave reflection and arterial stiffness means that arteries are stretchy enough to handle the pressure of blood flowing from the heart. This eliminates the need for the heart to pump harder just to ensure the delivery of blood to every part of the body.
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Other health benefits of acupuncture
Acupuncture isn’t just great for hypertension, it is also scientifically proven to help address a number of other health conditions, such as:
- Chronic pain – Management of pain is one of the most common and popular uses of acupuncture. By stimulating acupoints with special needles, acupuncture aids in the release of “happy” hormones called endorphins, which relieve pain. Acupuncture also reduces stress and tension that contribute to discomfort. Science backs the practice’s ability to treat pain from osteoarthritis, pregnancy, cancer, chemotherapy, and neuropathy, among others.
- Sleeping problems – Acupuncture is noted for its ability to relax the body, calm the mind, reduce heart rate, and reduce metabolic activities as a prelude to high-quality sleep come bedtime. It is used to relieve a variety of sleep-related issues, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and sleeping troubles originating from menopause.
- Depression and anxiety – Acupuncture’s ability to treat inflammation is well-documented in various studies, so it’s not surprising that it can help treat inflammation-related conditions like depression. Some studies suggest that it may also help with anxiety, especially in pregnant women. By facilitating the release of serotonin and endorphins, it can also elevate mood and help manage mood disorders.
- Obesity – Ear acupuncture is widely used to address weight gain. It works by stimulating the satiety center of the brain to stifle the feeling of hunger and reduce your compulsion to overeat. Acupuncture may also be used to stimulate the vagus nerve, which controls the intestines to suppress appetite.
- Poor immunity – The process of inserting needles inside the body triggers an immune response that prepares your immune system for real threats. Acupuncture is known to stimulate the production of white blood cells and other cells that attack and eliminate harmful pathogens.
Other ways to naturally prevent hypertension
Hypertension leads to a wide array of complications, some of which are life-threatening. Fortunately, there are steps to lower the risk of developing it, especially as one approaches middle age.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Obesity is a significant risk factor for high blood pressure. Experts say losing as little as 10 pounds can help reduce the likelihood of developing the condition.
- Eat a healthy diet – Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats and limiting intake of unnecessary calories, bad fats, and sugar will help minimize the risk of hypertension. (Related: Treat hypertension naturally with vitamin D: Study.)
- Reduce salt intake – Sodium is known for increasing blood pressure. Limiting your intake of this mineral by following a low-salt diet will help prevent hypertension. When you do use salt, choose sea salt.
- Exercise – Following a regular workout routine trains the cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension.
- Drink moderately – Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. To lower the risk of hypertension, it is important to follow the recommended alcohol intake levels (one drink a day for women and two drinks for men).
Learn how to take care of your cardiovascular system by going to Heart.news.