By: Kennedy Shelley
Many people swear that acupuncture works, yet it is often ignored by science as nothing more than a type of voodoo. To many, it is nothing more than Oriental superstition, a type of ancient placebo effect.
Yet a recent article in Nature has quantified that it does indeed work, at least for controlling blood pressure.
Why is this such a big deal? It’s because the paper was accepted in the publication Nature.
There are tons of scientific journals in the world, and many of dubious reputation. Some are no more than shills that publish articles to give an air of respectability to bad products, treatments, drugs or supplements.
But Nature is not one of those publications. It is very picky about which articles it will accept. Less than 7% of articles submitted get published.
They often demand that the scientists who submit articles also give them all their raw data and they go through it to make sure that the data backs up the claims.
In short, they seem to always be highly skeptical, especially when it comes to spectacular claims.
This is why their publication of a Korean paper which validates a claim of acupuncture is so revolutionary.
The article “Attenuation of hypertension by C-fiber stimulation of the human median nerve and the concept-based novel device” supports acupuncture at least for the treatment of high blood pressure.
What the Korean team found was that you can reduce your blood pressure by stimulating a nerve that acupuncturists have been stimulating for years.
High blood pressure is a highly controllable problem that is often undiagnosed because it often has no symptoms.
And there are those who have bad reactions to certain drugs which include fatigue, dizziness, problems exercising. As a result, nearly 50% of patients quit taking their medication within six months of starting it.
This is why there is so much interest in a non-pharmaceutical way of controlling blood pressure.
If it is possible to lower blood pressure without creating all the problems associated with medications that would be a great breakthrough and might prolong the lives of the nearly one billion people who have high blood pressure.
There have been some devices tested including brain implants and vagus nerve stimulators, but these do not work for most because you can’t walk around with them and require you to go the hospital or a lab.
Enter the Korea team which found that stimulating the median nerve in the wrist did in fact lower blood pressure.
They used 9 areas and stimulated it using either pepper (capsaicin) or a transcutaneous median nerve stimulation or in other words they used low level electrical stimulation of the nerve.
The results were spectacular with only 30 minutes of stimulation, blood pressure dropped nearly 15 points.
Blood pressure is measured with a sphygmomanometer and is a measurement of the pounds of mercury pressure needed to stop the blood from going by a cuff that is blocking blood flow.
The more pounds of pressure, the higher the reading.
Fifteen less pounds of pressure is significant.
They are creating a wrist unit which is a combination blood pressure monitor and electrical stimulator that they hope to have on the market soon.
Both the electrical and chemical stimulation of the nerve saw the reduction in systolic blood pressure.
This has not been turned into a therapy for high blood pressure at the moment but based on these exciting developments it probably will be soon.
But it also gives credence to the ancient wisdom of acupuncture. By combining ancient healing with modern science, we might get better non-pharmacological treatments.