the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine
IRVINE, Calif. - The Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at
the University of California, Irvine, dedicated to advancing patient
care through education, evidence-based research and applied integrative
medical therapies, today released findings that show acupuncture can
help normalize blood pressure - lower pressure when it is elevated or
raise pressure when it is too low - and complements treatments for
cardiovascular patients. The Center found that acupuncture combined with
low levels of electrical stimulation can lower elevations in blood
pressure by as much as 40 percent.
In treating patients at their clinics, the
Center also found once-weekly
30-minute acupuncture sessions will give substantial pressure reductions
of 15-25 mmHg in three to four weeks. Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old
form of Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles at specific
points on the body to help cure disease or relieve pain.
"At the Samueli Center, we are dedicated to promoting the integration of
ancient healing practices with modern medical treatments to help develop
optimum treatment solutions for patients," said Dr. John Longhurst,
director of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine and study
leader. "We believe these new findings on acupuncture and hypertension
will help educate both Western and alternative medical practitioners
while encouraging dialog on developing integrative treatment solutions."
An Alternative Solution
Though drug therapy and healthy lifestyle changes related to diet,
exercise and weight loss are typically employed to treat high blood
pressure, some patients are looking for alternative solutions. "In our
real world of clinical practice, we're encountering patients who find it
difficult to make these changes or who continue to have high pressure
despite making real changes. They're looking for something else, and
acupuncture is a potential solution that's relaxing and relatively
painless," said Dr. Longhurst.
Slow Onset, Prolonged Effects
The Samueli Center's research also found
that acupuncture has a slow onset and prolonged effect. If treatments
were stopped, the pressure would stay down for another month or so, and
then comes back up over a period of weeks.
How it Works
Elevated blood pressure is due to either increased vascular constriction
and stiffness, or to the heart pumping excess volume into the blood
vessels. Diuretics and other antihypertensives typically help with the
latter; acupuncture appears to help with the former. Other recent
studies from the Susan Samueli Center indicate that acupuncture relaxes
vessels mainly through action in the central nervous system. For
additional information on the Center's research findings or to schedule
an interview with Dr. Longhurst, please contact the Center's public
relations' agency listed below.
Founded in 2000, The Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at
UCI successfully promotes integrative medicine by conducting rigorous
fundamental and clinical research on complementary healing practices;
educating medical students, health professionals and the public about
these practices, and creating a model of clinical care that emphasizes
healing the whole person. The Center is rapidly becoming recognized for
providing new knowledge bridging complementary and conventional
treatments - all for the singular purpose of achieving better health.
For more information, contact the Center at (949) 824-5763 or visit
Released Dec. 17, 2007