Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke (both ischaemic and haemorrhagic), myocardial infarction, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease, cognitive decline, and premature death worldwide. If the condition is untreated, there is a progressive rise in blood pressure, which often results in a treatment-resistant state due to vascular and renal damage (itself caused by untreated hypertension).
In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically help to lower blood pressure by:
Regulating endothelium-derived vasoconstrictors (endothelin-1) and vasodilators (calcitonin gene-related peptide, nitric oxide, and nitric oxide synthase)
Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the analytical brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry
Increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties
Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.