The use of acupuncture as a means of wellness and alternative healing has increased dramatically in the last several decades, although the practice itself originated thousands of years ago.
Well known as an alternative means of treating a variety of medical conditions including those associated with the digestive, reproductive, respiratory, neurological and muscular systems, acupuncture is also frequently used to relieve chronic pain, as well as, nausea and vomiting that often follows chemotherapy.
But increasingly, there is growing evidence in the use of this ancient Chinese healing art as an effective means of reducing the risk of heart disease, a leading cause of death worldwide and the number one killer in the United States, especially among women. This, despite increased efforts by the American Heart Association (and the like) to educate people on the lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise and alternative wellness practices like acupuncture, that can not only reduce the chances of complications associated with heart attack, coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure, but may prevent it.
How Does Acupuncture Help?
Clinical trials conducted by researchers at UCLA show evidence that acupuncture treatments begun after the onset of heart disease significantly lowers stress and improves heart function in the very sickest heart failure patients by changing the way the body responds to stressful situation.
This is because the sympathetic nervous systems in people with severely weakened hearts respond differently to normally low-stress experiences, mistaking them for high-stress events and sending the body into panic mode. This often results in heart failure patients having two or three times the sympathetic nerve activity than normal individuals. The UCLA research showed that of those heart failure patients who were treated with acupuncture, the sympathetic nerve activation — or stress level — was significantly reduced, a result crucial to a positive outcome because it means the heart is not working harder than necessary in a given situation.
Major lifestyle changes are hard to make, but could be the difference in suffering from heart disease or not. Acupuncture is a recommended for assisting with five major factors that contribute to heart disease: lowering elevated blood pressure, smoking cessation, weight loss/control, stress management and sleep issues.
Failure to manage even a single one of these factors can lead you down the road to heart disease, but several (or all) in combination may get you there faster. Acupuncture has shown great success in helping high blood pressure, controlling cravings for food and other addictive substances, and alleviating anxiety that often contributes to emotional distress and the inability to sleep well.
Not only can acupuncture help lower the risk of heart-related ailments, but it can improve overall quality of life by assisting in the removal of these obstacles to wellness.
February is National Heart Month to raise awareness of heart health, making it the perfect time to check out acupuncture for a healthy heart lifestyle. We would be glad to discuss acupuncture options and possibilities with you.