East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Acupuncture may be useful in the management of many diseases of the cardiovascular system. It can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Acupuncture is also valuable in the treatment of ischemic heart disease. It can improve cardiac function, relieve some symptoms (particularly pain, dyspnea and palpitations), and reduce arrhythmias and sudden death. Acupuncture’s ability to reduce sympathetic tone may be of value in the managament of angina and myocardial infarction. Acupuncture is also useful in the treatment of peripherial vascular disease. It can produce marked vasodilation in patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon or diabetic polyneuropathy. The effect of acupuncture in improving blood flow can be seen in improved rate of tissue healing, as shown by several studies.

Patients frequently comment that they feel warm after acupuncture. It was observed that patients undergoing acupuncture analgesia tended to show a measurable rise in skin temperature of the palms, which is consistent with reduced sympathetic tone. One study recorded sustained vasodilation throughout the body, particularly in the hands, following treatment (Ernst & Lee 1986). However, the effect of acupuncture on skin temperature depends on the baseline temperature. In one carefully controlled experiment, acupuncture was found to reduce skin temperatures that were initially high, raise those that were initially low, and have little effect on intermediate values. (Ballegaard et al 1993). This is a clear example of a well-known aspect of acupuncture treatment, which is that it activates the homeostatic mechanism. Stimulation of acupuncture points on the arm induced significant increase in radial artery blood flow and vessel diameter “equivalent to a stellate ganglion block.” (Tayama et al 1984).

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