Q. My doctor recently prescribed atenolol for high blood pressure. The day after I started on atenolol I felt ill. When I went back to my doctor, he asked if I had ever tried acupuncture. I had not, but I was willing to try anything.

Immediately after the procedure I felt no better, but by the third day, when I got out of bed I felt like I had risen from the dead. It has been more than a week and I still feel better than I have in years. I do not know how much this improvement is due to acupuncture but I am grateful.

A. Acupuncture is most often used to help people cope with pain, but one study of 32 people found that acupuncture lowered blood pressure significantly from baseline (Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research, Vol. 37, no. 4, 2012). Nitric oxide levels in the blood also increased. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure.

This study is preliminary, small and not placebo-controlled. Still, it’s an interesting finding. We are glad you got benefit from acupuncture. You may need to continue with acupuncture sessions to keep your blood pressure under control. A single treatment of any sort does not reverse hypertension.

You might want to explore other natural approaches to lowering blood pressure, such as beet or grape juice. We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment for a discussion of many of these tactics, along with medications. For more in-depth information about such approaches, including details on the well-studied and evidence-based DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), you may want to read our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic. 

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  1. Joan
    Reply

    Any documented studies that acupuncture actually reduces blood pressure long term? do you have to continue it indefinitely? what happened to the Harvard study that was started in 2001++++. can’t find any published results – did they just stop it?

  2. Dr. Rodrigues
    Reply

    Acupuncture is my best medicine for hypertension, diabetic neuropathy etc.
    There is no doubt after being in medicine for 30 yrs and using Acupuncture for the last 15 that Needles are the most profound, safe, effective, non-toxic discipline. When you use it in combination of wellness, supplements, dry needling and myofascial release protocols with hands-on techniques and with needles as per Travell/Simons, the results are much more profound and consistent.
    I’ve studied all aspects of the pathophysiology of what a needle does to the flesh ends up being 2 simple effects; igniting the healing cascade, like a knife cutting into a muscle (so no need for the exact points and possibly why this disciple should be compared to orthopedic surgery) and the wire or metal needle depolarize muscles which causes them to relax. The needle does this simultaneously which ignites healing in a more harmonious environment for complete healing.
    The question was confusing in that, did her doc stop the bp med? Lower the med? Were you sluggish before the doc started the bp med?

  3. lc
    Reply

    Acupuncture is part of an integrated system of health care known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has an uninterrupted system of development dating back thousands of years in China and other parts of South-East Asia. Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to understanding and disease processes.
    After bashing my head against a tree in a skiing accident at Falls Creek, I visited an acupuncturist, chiropractor in Brisbane in 1980. I was very curious to see if the needle insertion would be painful since I hated needles. But I quickly discovered that hardly anything more than tiny pinch when the ultra- thin and more slender than a human hair are inserted. Most of the time I now know that nothing at all is felt upon needle insertion.

  4. mmd
    Reply

    After many years on Prinivil for hypertension, I became allergic, exhibiting rash &itching. If a person is allergic to one ace inhibitor, does that mean I can never use any other ace inhibitors? Same question for hydrochlorothiazide. I developed rash & itch with that also, after several years.
    Thank you.

  5. Americo S.
    Reply

    I write from Trujillo Peru. My English is not good because I speak Spanish,but I was reading about high blood pressure and is very wonderful everything You say about it. Is the first time I read about acupuncture to lower High blood pressure. I have high blood pressure and I will try with acupuncture.
    Thanks to Joe and Terry Graedon.
    God Bless You
    Americo S.
    Trujillo Peru

  6. Joan
    Reply

    want to hear more

  7. Paul 43
    Reply

    I would like to hear more about this subject

  8. SVM
    Reply

    I didn’t believe in Acupuncture until two years ago. My son-in-law was studying acupuncture and natural medicine at a well known school and asked if he could use me to “practice” on. I had suffered with gradually worsening nerve pain in my feet for almost 20 years. I couldn’t walk in a mall or around the park. Various doctors prescribed pain meds which didn’t work or left me incapacitated.
    I felt I had nothing to lose, so I let him treat me. After only four treatments spaced about two weeks apart I noticed an improvement. By the end of eight treatments, I could walk miles without pain. If acupuncture could ‘cure’ my nerve pain, I have no doubt it could lower blood pressure with accompanying diet change.

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