Using acupuncture to increase blood circulation: What studies say
By Marieke A. Pieterman
Are you one of the 15 million adults in the United States that have coronary heart disease (CHD)? Has your doctor told you that you have inflammation and plaque build up in the arteries around your heart?
You could be at risk for a heart attack, but there are steps you can do to improve your overall blood circulation – including undergoing acupuncture, some studies say.
Researchers from the Department of Nuclear Medicine at Peking University Shenzhen Hospital conducted a study using a nuclear imaging test, the Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and found that acupuncture improved blood perfusion in patients diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD) and coronary arterial blockage by 70.1 percent. Meanwhile, a group that only received nitroglycerine sublingually saw a 77.4 percent improvement. In conclusion, this study showed that acupuncture alone was nearly as effective as a pharmaceutical.
A total of 59 coronary heart disease patients were randomly assigned to the acupuncture group (n=32) or the nitroglycerine group (n=27). They had received this diagnosis within the last 12-14 months. Both groups were given an intravenous injection of the tracer used in SPECT imaging, and a SPECT image was performed five minutes later.
The nitroglycerine group was then given 1 mg of nitroglycerine sublingually. Five minutes later, this group was injected with the tracer again. A second SPECT image was then captured five minutes later.
After the initial SPECT, the acupuncture group received bilateral acupuncture with electro-acupuncture (micro current attached to the needles) for 30 minutes on two acupuncture points. Fifteen minutes later, this group was injected with the tracer again. A second SPECT image was then captured 15 minutes later.
The SPECT images were evaluated before and after the treatment course. The muscle and cavity of the left ventricle (the chamber responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to tissues all over the body) of the heart was divided into nine segments for perfusion analysis. Healthy heart blood circulation appears light, while areas of poor blood circulation appear dark in a SPECT image.
In the acupuncture group, there were 127 dark segments out of a total 288 segments of the heart. However, after treatment, that figure dropped to 89 segments -- a 70.1 percent improvement. In the nitroglycerin group, there were 93 dark segments out of the 243 segments of the heart prior to sublingual nitroglycerin. After taking the sublingual nitroglycerin, that figure dropped to 72 segments -- a 77.4 percent improvement.
In this research, acupuncture alone was shown to be nearly as effective as nitroglycerin in significantly increasing the perfusion of the heart’s muscle tissue. This has even a greater preventative implication for those who receive acupuncture on a regular basis, with no CHD diagnosis, all the while increasing perfusion to their heart when these heart acupuncture points are administered.
Is heart health your top priority? Acupuncture may help you get that heart pumping and performing at its peak level!
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