Treating high blood pressure (hypertension)
In this article, we introduce the Western and Chinese approaches to high blood pressure (hypertension) treatment.
For hypertension, various forms of treatment are available. These also include natural solutions that do not cost much time or money.
We shall mention some of the most common causes of high blood pressure. We will highlight the natural cures provided by Chinese medicine.
There are too many reasons why you should pay attention to your blood pressure
For an introduction to heart disease treatment in Western and Chinese medicine, please read this article.
If your question is not answered in any of these articles then get in touch with us. We provide free online health advice. Or pop into our Clinic for a brief chat. No obligation.
+ About Hypertension
Why you should care
Hypertension (high blood pressure) itself is not a disease. People with hypertension often show no symptoms.
But blood pressure is the most important determinant of life expectancy.
Hypertension can lead to heart failure, heart attack, kidney failure, a stroke. High blood pressure can lead to other serious conditions, such as blindness.
Without proper treatment, the consequences of unbalanced blood pressure can be fatal.
+ Western Medical View
How to measure blood pressure
A reading of blood pressure includes two numbers:
1. The systolic pressure – your heart beats,
2. The diastolic pressure – the pauses between beats as your heart relaxes.
A blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure number over the diastolic pressure number.
How high is high blood pressure?
A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is high blood pressure. That is – Hypertension.
Systolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries as your heart beats. See the top number in a blood pressure reading.
High blood pressure is 140 and higher for systolic pressure.
Diastolic pressure does not need to be high for you to have high blood pressure. When that happens, the patient has “isolated systolic hypertension,” or ISH.
Treatment for ISH consists of lifestyle changes and/or medications.
Western treatment options for ISH are the same as for other types of high blood pressure. Bith apply where both systolic and diastolic pressures are high.
Western approaches to high blood pressure treatment and control
The key for any high blood pressure treatment is to bring the condition under proper control.
Blood pressure should stay below the 140/90 mm Hg reading. If yours is not, then ask your doctor why.
You may just need a lifestyle or drug change, such as reducing salt in your diet or adding a second medication.
+ Chinese Medical View
Certain Chinese herbs and acupuncture points can be used as hgh blood pressure treatment.
Chinese medical theory refers to high blood pressure as ‘Internal Wind’. And it diagnoses low blood pressure as a deficiency of essential energy (Qi).
A low blood pressure indicates a shortage of essential energy within the cardiovascular system. Chinese Medicine refers to this system as the Heart.
Hypertension diagnosis in Chinese medicine
Before discussing the causes of high blood pressure according to Chinese medicine it is important to note some of the issues with the language of Chinese medicine.
1. When discussing organs in Chinese medicine we do not mean the anatomical organ but a collection of functions associated with that organ in Chinese medical theory.
Hence, during diagnosis a Chinese medical practitioner may attribute hypertension to “kidney deficiency”. But they are not referring to the pair of elimination organs in the back of your body. Rather, they mean a set of functions which Chinese medical theory groups under the rubric of ‘Kidney’.
This is one of the biggest obstacles in communication between East and West and requires clarifying. On this website we capitalise the organ names when describing their energetic functions. For example, Liver, as opposed to liver.
2. The language of Chinese medicine sounds very esoteric because it is an ancient medicine but this does not mean that it is unscientific. For thousands of years Chinese medicine has been going through empirical ‘clinical trials’ and has created a language to try to describe its observations. The descriptions may sound funny but the observations are accurate.
Chinese medical diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure)
Chinese medicine recognises the connections between emotions and blood pressure.
The most common emotions behind high blood pressure are:
These emotions tend to block the circulation of essential energy within the Liver area. Known as ‘Liver-Qi stagnation’, the blockage generates a severe kind of inflammation (Fire). If left untreated, the Liver-Fire rises through the body. As it unsettles the cardiovascular system, it pushes blood pressure up.
Years of physical or mental overwork can lead to hypertension.
Prolonged overexertion can deplete the essential energy within the Liver and Kidney. A weakening in these two areas can lead to high blood pressure.
Depletion of Liver energy
The blood pressure level is influenced by the Liver’s ability to maintain blood circulation.
A shortage of the Liver’s essential energy can disrupt blood pressure levels. This can lead to a rise in blood pressure and hypertension.
Depletion of Kidney energy
The Kidneys store the body’s vital energy. It is not only the energy you derive from food. It also includes the energy inherited from parents – known as the constitution. Thus, it is the energy you use for a wide range of activities – including self-control.
A weakening of the Kidney area impairs your ability to control emotions. If unrestrained, worry, anger or joy can all lead to high blood pressure.
Weak Liver and Kidney energy
As explained above, prolonged difficult emotions can cause hypertension. It left unaddressed, they can destabilise blood circulation and elevate blood pressure.
Everyone experiences worry and anger in their lives. But if you work and stress too much you are also straining your Kidney and Liver. When these two areas are weak your body’s ability to control blood pressure suffers.
Irregular, uneven eating impacts the Spleen and compromises the efficiency of the digestive system.
Healthy Spleen plays a key role in a successful digestion of food. If the Spleen’s essential energy is lacking, a proper digestion of food will not happen. Without full digestion, phlegm will build up in the body. Excess phlegm can interfere with the cardiovascular system and cause blood pressure to rise.
Treat the root causes of high blood pressure, not the symptoms
Hypertension develops from a disrupted cardiovascular system complicated by an inability to control emotions.
Such disruption tends to come from the digestive system. But first, it takes root in the patient’s lack of control over emotional challenges.
It is usual for a person who does not keep to a regular meal time to work and stress too much. We often see high blood pressure arise from a combined weakness of Kidney, Spleen and Liver.
Chinese physicians view high blood pressure as a symptom, not an illness. But it is a symptom of what is often a combination of issues. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can treat the imbalances at the root of hypertension.
Chinese medical approach to high blood pressure treatment
Chinese medicine treats high and low blood pressure with special herbs and acupuncture.
See your GP first to clarify your blood pressure diagnosis. If you have already had check-ups then bring to AcuMedic the results of tests. For example, reports of kidney function tests and a list of medications that you have been taking.
Hypertension often requires lifelong medication even during a prolonged programme of Chinese medicine. if you wish to stop or reduce your Western medication you must first consult your GP or consultant.
Acupuncture as high blood pressure treatment
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for essential hypertension. Several clinical trials* have demonstrated this.
As a treatment for high blood pressure, acupuncture can:
- Clear Heat (chronic inflammation),
- Nourish Yin (the body’s cooling energy) to drain Fire (severe inflammation) from the body,
- Calm the patient’s mind and promote instant, lasting relaxation,
- Regulate the ascending Qi and subdue Liver-Fire (also know as Liver-Yang).
- Tonify the Kidney by helping to promote and replenish the body’s essential energy circulation.
Chinese herbs as high blood pressure treatment
Various herbs can help you to lower, raise or your control blood pressure.
The use of these herbs must follow the Chinese medical diagnosis. To reach the correct diagnosis, the Chinese physician must apply the principles of Syndrome Differentiation. A reading of the patient’s blood pressure also will form a part of the Chinese medical diagnosis.
Chinese herbal medicine can help you to lower your blood pressure on their own. For greatest effect on your blood pressure. combine Chinese herbal medicine with acupuncture.
Specific herbs can lower blood pressure and extinguish Liver-Wind. They can strengthen the effect of acupuncture.
Combined with acupuncture as treatment for hypertension, Chinese herbs can:
- Reduce any stress that may have accumulated in your body,
- Re-energise the circulation of Liver energy and blood within the area,
- Cool down your body to extinguish all forms of inflammation,
- Nourish and tonify the Liver to harmonise blood circulation and lower blood pressure.
+ Lifestyle advice for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure
Design your diet
Start by reviewing your diet. Too much salt, alcohol and excess weight aggravate hypertension.
Once you have designed your optimal diet, make the most the most of it. Ensure your digestive system is in its best condition. Use our health guide Regulate Your Digestion.
Exercise often, and enough
Regular, sufficient exercise can strengthen your cardiovascular health.
Work on improving your heart health and your blood pressure will benefit.
Use our Weight Loss Guide for advice.
Gain control of stress
If stress is a problem, consult our health guide: 3 Steps to Rise Above Stress.
This free guide will also you the easiest way to mediate.
If you find yourself overworked and tired, use our guide to Beat Fatigue.
The guide features adice on what to do – and not do – to keep your energy levels up throughout the whole day.
Use weekly acupuncture
Just 30 minutes of acupuncture per week may be enough for you to lower and control your blood pressure. As far as high blood pressure treatment goes, this is the most basic.
Acupuncture is the easiest and simplest form of hypertension treatment. Use it as your basic preventative measure against premature death caused by hypertension. If done regularly, just 30 minutes of acupuncture relaxation can save you years of life.
Read this article to see how acupuncture may be the smartest time-saving technique you are not using yet.
For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the AcuMedic doctor during your consultation.
+ *CLINICAL TRIALS
Iurenev AP et al. [Use of various non-pharmacological methods in the treatment of patients in the early stages of arterial hypertension.] Terapevticheskii Arkhiv, 1988, 60(1):123-126 [in Russian].
Zhou RX et al. [The hypotensive effect of ear acupressure-an analysis of 274 cases.] China Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1990, 30(2):99-100 [in Chinese]
Yu P et al. Clinical study on auricular pressure treatment of primary hypertension. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 1991, 2(1):37-40
Wu CX et al. Scalp acupuncture in treating hypertension in the elderly. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 1997, 8(3):281-284.
Dan Y. [Assessment of acupuncture treatment of hypertension by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.] Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, 1998, 18(1):26-27 [in Chinese]
Chen NY et al. Observation on therapeutic effect of acupuncture in the treatment of German hypertension patients [Article in Chinese]. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 2010a; 35: 462-6.
Chen J et al. Therapeutic effect on essential hypertension treated with combined therapy of acupuncture and medication [Article in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2010 b; 30: 896-8.
Yang DH. Effect of electroacupuncture on Quchi (LI 11) and Taichong (LR 3) on blood pressure variability in young patients with hypertension [Article in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2010; 30: 547-50.
Park JM et al. The acute effect of acupuncture on endothelial dysfunction in patients with hypertension: a pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. J Altern Complement Med 2010; 16: 883-8.
Zhang J et al. Effects of electrical stimulation of acupuncture points on blood pressure. J Chiropr Med. 2009 Mar; 8(1):9-14
Brinkhaus B. Acupuntura en pacientes con hipertensión arterial. Revista Internacional de Acupuntura 2008; 2: 39-40.