High blood pressure is treated successfully with acupuncture and herbal medicine. According to several studies¹, treatments are most effective when the patient is also receiving pharmaceutical therapy for hypertension. This has also been observed while treating our patients with acupuncture and herbal therapy for hypertension.
How Hypertension Is Perceived in Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine perceives hypertension as excess within the blood vessels. By virtue of the vascular system’s relation to the heart, this would be considered a disease of the Heart. However, diseases are distinguished by source of excess and its primary generative factor. The source of excess may be in the form of heat, phlegm, or even stagnant coagulated blood. A primary generative factor is the source of the excess agent. Here are some examples:
- Liver heat transmitting into the Blood Vessels
- Poor digestive health may produce phlegm-dampness that transmits into the Blood Vessels.
- Heart deficiency results in Blood Stasis within the vessels due to poor circulation.
- Kidney deficiency can result in water retention, resulting in the expansion of the Blood Vessels.
Depending on these factors, the treatment strategy will vary. For example, phlegm-dampness may appear in the form of concurrent high blood sugar or elevated LDL cholesterol. These cases require augmenting the body’s cellular metabolism to essentially transform these excess factors and eliminate them either through urine, defecation, or diaphoresis. Acupuncture points such as SP-9 Yinlingquan and ST-40 Fenglong are often used to treat such presentations. Herbal formulas such as Èr Chén Tāng (Two-Aged [Herb] Decoction) are used to break down fatty-acid build and rheum.
Blood Stasis may manifest as blood clots that increase hydrostatic pressure. These cases require augmenting the body’s circulation either through the Heart’s function or the vascular system as a whole. Acupuncture points such as SP-10 Xuehai and PC-6 Neiguan and herbal formulas such as Xuè Fǔ Zhú Yū Tāng (Drive Out Stasis from the ‘Mansion of Blood’ Decoction) are used to promote blood circulation.
“Liver heat” is essentially inflammation of the Liver organ that may transfer into the blood vessels through hepatic circulation. The treatment method would be to dilate the vasculature and drain inflammation from channels. Acupuncture points such as LV-2 Xingjian and GB-38 Yangfu are used with herbal formulas such as Long Dan Xie Gan Tang to drain heat from the Liver channel and reduce blood pressure.
Kidney deficiency can result in a reduced ability to regulate bodily fluids such that increased water retention leads to increased hydrostatic pressure. The treatment method would be to strengthen the Kidney function and promote diuresis. Acupuncture points such as KD-3 Taixi and KD-7 Fuliu are used in conjunction with herbal formulas such as Kidney Qi Pill (肾气丸 Shèn Qì Wán) to strengthen the Kidney and regulate the water passages.
The aforementioned treatment plans serve as examples and only represent a portion of how the actual successful treatments are in scope of Chinese medicine. When patients come to our office, we will thoroughly examine and assess the nature of their health condition and issue treatment the same day. To learn more about how acupuncture treaments are, see the following link: Acupuncture (针灸).
1. Cevik C, Işeri SO. The effect of acupuncture on high blood pressure of patients using antihypertensive drugs. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2013;38(1-2):1-15. doi: 10.3727/036012913×13831831849448. PMID: 23724695.