High blood pressure or hypertension affects more than one in three Australians, but most people may not even know they have it. Since hypertension can lead to heart attacks, it's essential to learn all you can do to lower your risk. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe, natural, and pain-free way to keep your blood pressure in check.
What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is the actual force of blood flowing against your artery walls. Getting your blood pressure tested is a quick, simple process. It's measured in two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is considered high if your systolic pressure is above 140 and diastolic pressure is more than 90.
Often called "the silent killer," hypertension doesn't usually cause symptoms until it gets severe enough. Those extreme conditions may lead to significant health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease. It also has links to dementia and cognitive impairment.
Many factors contribute to hypertension, including heredity, diet, obesity, stress, lack of exercise and pre-existing diseases. Hypertension usually has no symptom, but some may experience dizziness, flushed face, headache, fatigue, epistaxis, and nervousness.
Hypertension is one of the most common disorders in developed countries. In Western medicine, doctors may use many different categories of drugs to treat primary hypertension. Those drugs include diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers. All these drugs have benefits and risks and may be given individually or in combinations to control blood pressure.
The main advantage of drug therapy is its potency to suppress blood pressure in the control group. However, the main disadvantages are that the drugs cause many side effects, and they do not change the patients' underlying constitution in the treatment group. Therefore, while they are helpful to suppress systolic blood pressure, they must be used continuously and cannot be stopped. Discontinuing use of these drugs often leads to rebound hypertension.
In Chinese medicine, primary hypertension may be characterised by both excess and deficiency, similar to “red” and “pale” high blood pressure types in Western medicine. Excess refers to Liver yang rising, and deficiency refers to Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies. You may treat both conditions effectively with herbal medicine.
The main advantage of using herbs is the valuable ability to change the body's fundamental constitution. Therefore, people can achieve long-term efficacy to reduce blood pressure, even after the herbs are discontinued. However, the main disadvantage is that herbs are less immediately potent than drugs for the treatment of hypertensive crisis or secondary hypertension. Thus it would help if you did not use them in place of drugs in these cases.
What causes high blood pressure?
More than 90% of high blood pressure cases are known as "essential hypertension" and have no identifiable cause. "Secondary hypertension," on the other hand, is caused by underlying conditions such as kidney disease or certain medications. The risk factors for essential hypertension include age, race and family history. While you can't control those factors, there are many you can control, including:
- Being overweight
- Being stressed
- Consuming too much salt
- Drinking heavily
- Not exercising
- Using tobacco
How can acupuncture therapy and Chinese herbal medicine help?
Fortunately, there are many ways to lower your blood pressure. Conventional Western treatments include controlling your risk factors and taking medication if needed. By incorporating acupuncture and TCM into your treatment plan, you can treat your hypertension and improve your overall health and well-being. Clinical trials confirmed that acupuncture reduced symptoms associated with high blood pressure, such as dizziness, palpitations and weakness.
Western medicine classifies hypertension into two types: “red” and “pale” high blood pressure. “Red” high blood pressure corresponds with the Chinese medicine diagnosis of excess. The extreme condition generally occurs in energetic and stressed individuals with marked redness and vascularised skin. “Pale” high blood pressure corresponds with the Chinese medicine diagnosis of deficiency and occurs typically in individuals with compromised kidneys, glands, or metabolism.
For hypertension treatment, we monitor the blood pressure and adjust the dosage of acupuncture treatment. Additionally, we prescribe herbal medicine based on age, body weight, the severity of the condition, and response to treatment.
As a registered acupuncturist, we take a holistic approach to treating hypertension. We are also considering the whole system's inharmonious conditions. Such conditions may involve the liver's function, kidneys, digestive system and heart.
Treatment is based upon the idea of Qi (pronounced "chee"), the vital energy that flows through pathways called meridians. The essential point is providing nourishment for all of the body's organs and protecting them from illness.
When Qi's flow becomes diminished or blocked, disease and illness result, the treatment goal is to find and address the underlying imbalance(s) affecting Qi's flow, leading to elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressures various symptoms. By addressing the root cause of your high blood pressure, TCM can help your body regain its natural balance.
In doing so, you'll also strengthen your health and significantly reduced the risk of future health conditions. The effect of acupuncture, combined with Chinese medicine, has proven successful against various health concerns. Studies have found that a unique form of acupuncture called electronic acupuncture, which uses electrical stimulation, may lower diastolic blood pressure.
By working together with your practitioner, you'll be on your way to successfully treat your hypertension and improving your health for today and the days ahead. Like healthy eating and regular exercise, consistent acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments should be considered the most excellent long-term results.
Recommendations and Lifestyle Changes
Both drugs and herbs help treat hypertension, and they have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Besides choosing either medications or herbal therapy, it is also important to make diet and lifestyle changes to ensure successful long-term hypertension management.
Healthy bowel and urinary functions help to reduce blood pressure. Diuretics and stool softeners should be taken as needed.
Maintain a positive attitude and outlook. Control emotions and reduce stress. Emotional fluctuations should be minimised whenever possible.
People who are aware of circumstances or activities that trigger tension and hypertensive responses need to initiate patterns in their lives. This change will help them avoid or reduce the impact of those triggers.
Stop alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.
Weight loss is highly recommended to help lower blood pressure.
Exercises such as swimming and brisk walking are excellent for hypertension.
Adelaide City Acupuncture: Alternative Solutions for Blood Pressure
Our team at Adelaide City Acupuncture offers an extensive selection of therapies based on Chinese medicine, including:
- Chinese nutrition
- Herbal medicine and topical treatments
- Fire cupping and wet cupping
- Electronic acupuncture
- Light needle laser treatments
- Gua Sha
- Far-infrared heat therapy
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong
- Tui-Na massage
You don't have to suffer anymore. At Adelaide Acupuncture Centre, We will work with you to find the best treatment solution for your blood pressure needs. We are conveniently located in the CBD and easily accessible through both private and public transportation. Contact us today to learn more about our alternative blood pressure treatment options or to schedule your consultation.