What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure (or Hypertension) issues are a common occurrence these days, often brought about by lifestyle issues, genetics or aging. The main form of treatment is medication, which once you’re on, you rarely come off. The statins are becoming quite common and though effective can cause some unpleasant side effects. The main reason for early detection and treatment of high blood pressure is it can lead to serious conditions such as stroke and heart attack. Most often I see blood pressure issues due to prolonged periods of emotional stress, poor diet and excessive smoking/alcohol consumption.
What causes High Blood Pressure According to Acupuncture
Though over looked by western medicine there are often other associated symptoms that occur when there is high blood pressure, such as irritability, headaches, trouble sleeping, tinnitus, flushed face etc. These symptoms are often key diagnostic tools in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as they are part of the larger picture. In TCM high blood pressure technically doesn’t exist, as measuring blood pressure is a western medical method. It’s the associated symptoms which occur with high BP that help provide a Chinese Medicine diagnosis. Though there can be several causes in TCM for high BP, they all have one thing in common, there is an excess of heat or Yang within the body which causes the blood to move faster and pump harder than normal. This translates into High blood pressure in Western Medicine.
Stress, age and poor lifestyle can cause long term deficiencies which depletes the body of its yin/cooling element which is why the yang/heat rises pulling the blood along with it. This can cause other associated symptoms such as headaches, tinnitus, sore eyes, flushed face, poor sleep and dry mouth.
What causes Low Blood Pressure according to Acupuncture
Low blood pressure (Hypotension) tends to present clinically as the opposite, where there isn’t enough energy to move the blood and the head suffers causing such symptoms as dizziness, fatigue and poor memory. This is often caused by a deficiency or blockages within the body which are preventing what we call “Clear Yang” from rising up and nourishing the head. Some patients I see have chronic hypotension, so the symptoms are present all day and night. In other cases it only occurs after physical exertion or when they are extremely tired or stressed. Those who suffer from it all day are obviously more severe than those who only develop low blood pressure only under certain circumstances.
Acupuncture for Low Blood Pressure Treatment
The goal of the treatment though is the same, to nourish this deficiency so that sufficient Yang Qi is sent to the head and the blood pressure normalises. I do this by building your deficient Qi and blood, which increases blood pressure and volume. You will also find you will have more energy, have improved concentration and memory. The other secondary symptoms, such as the dizziness will subside.
Acupuncture for Lowering Blood Pressure
To help drop the blood pressure, acupuncture points are selected which help subdue this excess energy and nourish the yin to rebalance the body. Dropping the blood pressure is the long term goal, but in the short term often an improvement in the associated symptoms is observed. Over time I’ve observed that patient’s blood pressure is more stable and doesn’t have the fluctuations that can commonly occur even when on medication.