Acupuncture blocks stress on the heart – (11-26-01)

Acupuncture Blocks Sympathetic Nerve Activity to Heart

It is becoming more and more difficult to say that acupuncture has no effects on the human body… It is just so hard to accept the concept of a series of meridian, energy fields, etc… that can and do affect human health. I would go on to say that acupuncture is just one tool to be used in human disease management, but anyone who has studied traditional Chinese medicine already knows that they know this! TCM also includes herbal remedies and manipulation as well as acupuncture.

American Heart Association’s 2001 Scientific Sessions Dr. Holly R. Middlekauff of the Medical School of the University of California at Los Angeles pointed out that sympathetic nerve activity is two to three times higher in patients with heart failure. The higher the activity, the worse the prognosis. On the basis of animal studies that have shown acupuncture to be sympathoinhibitory, Dr. Middlekauff and colleagues selected 14 patients with advanced heart failure and randomized them to one of three treatment arms: traditional acupuncture with needles; acupuncture with needles but delivered to non-acupoints; and needleless acupuncture, in which patients were touched on the backs of their necks and believed they were receiving acupuncture. Investigators subjected the patients to 4 minutes of mental stress, having them perform math problems, “chastising them when they got the answers wrong,” and performing a color/word mismatch test, where they had to identify the correct color, while a written cue gave them the wrong answer (e.g., presenting the word “blue” in red letters). Stress testing was conducted prior to acupuncture and then again after a 20-minute session. During mental stress testing, sympathetic activity increased 25%, with increases in heart rate and blood pressure. However, a single 20-minute acupuncture session completely blocked these increases in the active treatment group. Patients in the non-acupoint and needleless acupuncture groups showed increased sympathetic activity as usual. “We would like to see what a full course of acupuncture would do,” Dr. Middlekauff commented. “Acupuncture could be adjunctive or complementary to beta-blocker therapy for heart failure patients.” She added that it could also be advantageous in patients intolerant of beta-blockade.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.