In August 2015, a study was published by a group of University of California researchers who were investigating the effectiveness of specific acupoints to reduce both systolic (top #) and diastolic (bottom #) blood pressure (BP) in patients suffering from mild to moderate hypertension.
The study participants were selected based on having a diagnosis of hypertension and not being treated with any hypertensive medications. The 65 patients who qualified for the study were split into two groups; 33 patients went into a treatment group, and 32 into a control group.
The treatment group received EA at acupoints (P5, P6, ST36, ST37) that have been found in past experiments to be effective at lowering BP. The control group received EA at acupoints (LI6, LI7, GB37, GB39), which have no stimulating affect on any cardiac regions in the brain, and are indicated for non-cardiovascular conditions.
After 8 weeks of receiving weekly EA treatments for 30 minutes, the researchers found that the treatment group obtained a significant reduction of 70% in both systolic and diastolic BP readings.
The effects of the treatment group lasted for 1 month compared to no reduction in the control group. The study findings also highlighted the mechanism by which EA was able to elicit an effect. There were substantial decreases in norepinephrine (↓41%), renin (↓67%), and a reasonable decline in aldosterone (↓22%); all substances that contribute to BP regulatation.
In conclusion, EA can be a useful therapy in lowering the risk of such cardiovascular diseases as: heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease in hypertensive patients.
Li Peng, Tjen-A-Looi Stephanie C., Cheng Ling, Liu Dongmei, Painovich Jeannette, Vinjamury Sivarama, and Longhurst John C.. Medical Acupuncture. August 2015, 27(4): 253-266. doi:10.1089/acu.2015.1106.