In a study in rats, acupuncture that
also delivers mild electric stimulation lowered blood pressure
by as much as 50 percent.
Reporting in the March issue
of the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at
The University of California, Irvine (UCI) first tested rats
with acupuncture alone and found it had no effect on blood pressure.
They then ran a mild electrical
current through the acupuncture needles -- a technique called
electroacupuncture. The researchers found that while high frequencies
of electrical stimulation had no effect, lower frequencies reduced
the rats' increased blood pressure by as much as 40 percent
to 50 percent.
A 30-minute electroacupuncture
treatment reduced the rats' blood pressure by 25 mmHg and the
effect lasted for nearly two hours, the California team reported.
"This type of electroacupuncture
is only effective on elevated blood pressure levels, such as
those present in hypertension, and the treatment has no impact
on standing blood pressure rates," study leader Dr. John C.
Longhurst, director of UCI's Samueli Center for Integrative
Medicine, said in a prepared statement.
"Our goal is to help establish
a standard of acupuncture treatment that can benefit everyone
who has hypertension and other cardiac ailments," Longhurst
He and his team are currently
testing electroacupuncture in humans.
Reference Source 101