According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. People of all racial and ethnic groups are impacted. With such serious statistics, many might wonder what treatment options are available. Did you know that acupuncture can help with heart health, as well as address the contributing factors that lead to heart disease?
Help with Risk Factors
Not surprisingly, the top three risk factors for developing heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. While lifestyle changes are key to preventing heart disease, regular acupuncture treatments can also help mitigate the risk factors of heart disease. Studies have shown acupuncture’s efficacy in treating high blood pressure. It can also help people quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and regulate sleep. Acupuncture looks to return balance to the body, thus improving overall health and wellness. An acupuncturist will work with you to conduct a complete health history and treatment plan addressing each of your concerns. The treatment plan may also include herbal formulas to help patients reach their health goals.
What the Research Says
Northwestern Medicine is currently studying acupuncture as an effective treatment for heart rhythm disorders, pain, and nausea, and for use after cardiac surgery. Researchers sought to answer three main questions: 1. Would patients embrace acupuncture during heart surgery? 2. Is it logistically feasible in a cardiac surgery setting to provide daily acupuncture to patients? 3. Does acupuncture impact medical outcomes such as AFib and post-surgical symptoms like pain, nausea, stress, and anxiety?
According to lead researcher Dr. Kim Feingold, “We learned that acupuncture after open heart surgery is feasible in this fast-paced environment – even in the intensive care unit the day after surgery – and was well tolerated by patients with no adverse effects.” The research team concluded that acupuncture used after heart surgery produced lower rates of post-operative atrial fibrillation, reduced pain, nausea, stress and anxiety, less time in the intensive care unit, and a reduced need for antiarrhythmic medication.
We aren’t provided this type of integrated care in our local hospitals but it’s inspiring to imagine this in the future.