Most people believe that acupuncture is just for pain control. In fact it is an active medical modality which I use to treat almost all medical problems. Now a new study shows that acupuncture can help people with heart disease.
The recent study by Kristin AV and others, has recently been published in the medical journal Heart.
In this specific study they looked at congestive heart failure. This is a condition where the heart, due to illness is unable to pump sufficient blood to the rest of the body. It can vary from very mild, to the extreme that a person is unable to walk without oxygen. 4.8 million Americans have this condition. This includes 10% of people over the age of 70.
In this study the authors took 17 patients who were stable with congestive heart failure. All of them were already receiving an optimized medication program for their heart failure when they entered the study.
The study is all the more impressive because they did use a control group. One group of patients got real acupuncture in the other group received "sham" acupuncture.
After the series of acupuncture treatments, the group that received the real acupuncture significantly increased their ability to walk with less symptoms,. In addition in this group, they found a significant improvement in their "recovery" in regards to their ability to breathe after the exercise.
Furthermore heart rate variability which is a sign of the health of the heart increased after the real acupuncture but actually decreased after the "sham" acupuncture
In addition the "general health" score and "body pain" score improved after the real acupuncture.
In a press statement the research group noted that heart failure is recognized to be much more complex than had previously been assumed. Specifically it involves an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system, as well as in various neurotransmitters.
In a press release the authors were quoted as saying "This is precisely where acupuncture may intervene, by bringing these processes back into balance — it influences the autonomic sympathetic nervous system (excitation), boosts the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation), and also has an anti-inflammatory affect,"
Furthermore, Dr.Arnt Kristen, one of the authors of the study stated "The blood level of a certain messenger, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) actually drops after the real acupuncture treatment. Since TNF alpha leads to a reduction of muscle mass and muscle strength among other things, this would explain the positive effect (of acupuncture) on skeletal muscle function"
I've been using acupuncture in my practice on a regular basis for the last 30 years. I've seen remarkable results in almost every medical condition with acupuncture over and over again. It is wonderful that these types of studies are now coming out that objectively show the benefits of acupuncture for much more than just pain control. This will encourage conventional doctors to begin to be open to the use of acupuncture in congestive heart failure.
Let me know — do you have loved ones who have congestive heart failure? Have they tried acupuncture as an adjunct to their medications? I look forward to hearing from you.