Acupuncture For High Blood Pressure Appears To Work
But it might be an illusion. In the best study of acupuncture for high blood pressure to date the sham procedure used as part of the control worked just as well as the actual acupuncture. This was one of the results of the best study to date, Stop Hypertension with Acupuncture Research Program (SHARP). This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health as a means of clarifying previous studies.
A paper published by Tufts University reviewers regarding previous studies listed a number of serious methodological limitations:
- Small and inadequate sample size.
- Rare or poor use of randomization and controls.
- Interventions often not typical of traditional practice.
- Inadequate follow-up.
- Content of treatment poorly described.
- Subjects not well characterized.
- Statistical analysis often rudimentary.
The SHARP Trial
For reasons as listed above the National Institutes of Health decided to fund the SHARP trial to see if acupuncture for high blood pressure really works. It was organized by the New England Research Institute in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital. The randomized controlled trial consisted of 192 hypertensive subjects who were given one of three different treatments twice weekly for 6 weeks: individualized, traditional, or sham. They were followed for 4 months.
Results: Mean blood pressure decreased by almost 5 mm Hg, a nice result. However, the results were the same for all three treatments including the sham treatment.
Doctor’s Practical Guide:
Wow! Very interesting. Acupuncture for high blood pressure really worked, lowering mean blood pressure by 5 mm Hg. But so did the sham procedure. Then it actually was going-through-the-motions that worked.
Couple this with the fact that recent studies suggest that ancient relaxation methods such as yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi also work to lower blood pressure. Another recent small study showed that 15 minutes a day of slow breathing seemed to work.
So is it the periodic slowing down and relaxing that helps?
I'll bet it is.
Acupuncture for high blood pressure seems to me inconvenient, with twice weekly appointments which take time and are not necessarily at a time that is the most convenient for you.
It also sounds expensive to me.
All in all, there are more convenient and cheaper ways to lower blood pressure. Even free ones.
See Lower Blood Pressure
Whether you decide to try it or not, the only way to know your blood pressure level for sure is to take it yourself. It’s easy. See
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