Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension

By HealthCMi
March 18, 2015 Updated: March 24, 2015

Acupuncture successfully lowers blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Researchers conducted a randomized, controlled clinical trial of 120 patients. Groups 1 and 2 received medications, but group 1 also received acupuncture in addition to usual care. The group receiving acupuncture had significantly lower blood pressure. In addition, the acupuncture group had significantly less anxiety. 

A related hypertension study had similar findings. A randomized, controlled clinical trial compared two groups. Group 1 received health education and lifestyle intervention. Group 2 received acupuncture in addition to the health education and lifestyle intervention. The hypertension reduced in both groups, however, the acupuncture group had significantly superior patient outcomes.

The researchers used a protocolized acupuncture point prescription to achieve the clinical results. Acupuncture point Baihui (DU20) was threaded toward acupuncture point Qianding (DU21). DU20, located at the vertex of the head, is considered one of the most important acupuncture points in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Classical indications for using DU20 include the treatment of hypertension.

The hypertension research supports ancient Chinese medicine principles with a modern scientific investigation. According to Chinese medicine principles, DU20 is a sea of marrow acupuncture point that clears the senses, calms the spirit, extinguishes liver wind, and stabilizes the ascendant yang. In modern terms, this indicates acupuncture at DU20 for the treatment of hypertension, dizziness, headaches, vertigo, tinnitus, nasal congestion, coma, shock, mental disorders, and prolapsed organs. 

MicroRNA Regulation

Another group of researchers investigated acupuncture’s anti-hypertensive effects in a laboratory experiment and discovered something very powerful. The researchers gained insight as to how acupuncture lowers blood pressure in cases of hypertension. Acupuncture has the ability to regulate microRNAs, small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression. 


Liver 3 (Taichong/Great Rushing) is a very popular acupuncture point. (Shutterstock)

The researchers investigated the effects of needling Taichong (LV3) on laboratory rats. They found 222 differently expressed microRNAs (miRNAs) in the medulla of rats receiving acupuncture at LV3.

The researchers note, “Our findings have demonstrated significant changes of specific and selective miRNAs in rats when taichong acupoint was stimulated. Our data have revealed the specific miRNA profile changes in response to acupuncture treatment and strongly suggest that a selective panel of miRNAs play an important role in the antihypertensive activity of acupuncture therapy.”

There are numerous investigations finding acupuncture effective in lowering hypertension. Another research team concludes that needling acupuncture point Taixi (KD3) has an “antihypertensive effect for essential hypertension.”

To eliminate the placebo effect, a true acupuncture group was compared with a non-acupuncture group and a sham acupuncture group. The data indicates that true acupuncture has a “stable antihypertensive effect.”

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*Image of “woman” via Shutterstock